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Volume Seven 

5. K. BELVALKAR, M.A., Ph. u. f 

Professor of Sanskrit, 

Deocan College, Poona 

R. D. RANADE, M. A. t 

Professor of Philosophy 
University of Allahabad 

. iv. 8. 



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Mysticism in Maharashtra 





1. Mysticism denotes that attitude of mind which involves 

a direct, immediate, first-hand, intuitive 

The ineffable and apprehension of God. When Mysticism 

intuitive character of is understood in this sense, there is no 

Mystical Experience. reason why it should be taken to signify 

any occult or mysterious phenomena 
as is occasionally done. It is an irony of fate that a word 
which deserves to signify the highest attitude of which man 
is capable, namely, a restful and loving contemplation of 
God, should be taken to signify things which are incom- 
parably low in the scale of being. Mysticism implies a 
silent enjoyment of God. It is in this sense that mystical 
experience has often been regarded as ineffable. It is not 
without reason that Plato in liis 7th Epistle, which is now 
regarded as his own genuine composition, says : " There 
is no writing of mine on this subject, nor ever shall be. It 

is not capable of expression like other branches of study 

If I thought these things could be adequately written down 
and stated to the world, what finer occupation could I have 
had in life than to write what would be of great service to 
mankind" (341 c-e ; vide But-net Thales to Plato, p. 221). 
The ' ineffable character of mystical experience is closely link- 
ed with its intuitional character. It has been very often 
supposed that for mystical experience no separate faculty like 
Intuition need be requisitioned, but that Intellect, Feeling, 
and Will might suffice to enable us to have a full experience 
of God. Now it is a matter of common knowledge that even 
for heights to be reached in artistic, scientific, or poetic acti- 
vity, a certain amount of direct, immediate, almost cata- 
clysmic, contact with Reality is required. Far more is this the 
case in the matter of mystical realisation. It is thus wonderful 
to see how people like Dean Inge contradict themselves when 
puce they declare that " the process of divine knowledge 


consists in calling into activity a faculty which all possess 
but few use, what we may call the seed of the Deiform nature 
in the human soul " (vide Selbie : Psychology of Religion, 
p. 257) ; and yet again that " there is no special organ for 
the reception of Divine or Spiritual Truth " (Philo&ophy of 
Plotinus, I. 5). People, who would otherwise openly side with 
Intuition, yet declare that Intellect alone is sufficient for the 
reception of Divine knowledge ; but their real heart-beat tells 
us that they believe that not mere Intellect is sufficient, but 
that a higher faculty is necessary. Intuition, so far from 
contradicting Intelligence, Feeling, or Will, does penetrate 
and lie at the back of them all. Intuition would not deny 
to Mysticism a, title to Philosophy if Intellect requires it. As 
it connotes a determinative Effort towards the acquisition of 
Reality, it implies a definite, prolonged, arid continuous exer- 
cise of the Will. Also, Mysticism, pace Dr. Inge, necessarily 
makes place for Emotions in* a truly mystical life. It is 
strange that Dean Inge should fight shy of emotions, and deny 
to them a place in mystical life, when he says that Mysticism 
consists only in " seeing God face to face ", and that it docs 
not involve " an intensive cultivation of the emotions " (Philo- 
sophy of Plotinus, I. 3). We may venture to suggest to the 
Dean that unless the emotions are purified, and are turned 
towards the service of God, no " seeing of Him face to face ", 
of which he speaks so enthusiastically, is ever possible. Thus 
it seems that Intelligence, Will, and Feeling are all necessary 
in the case of the Mystical endeavour : only Intuition must 
back them all. It is this combined character of mystical 
experience, namely, its ineffable and intuitive character, 
which has served to make all God-aspiring humanity a com- 
mon and hidden Society, the laws of which are known to 
themselves if at all. We may even say, that they are known 
only to God, and not even to them ! 

2. It is thus that the Mystics of all ages and countries 

form an eternal Divine Society. There are no racial, no 


communal, no national prejudices among them. Time and 
space have nothing to do with the eternal 

The Mystics of an( j infinite character of their mystical 
Maharashtra and the . T , . , ,. . ,, , 

Mystics of the West: a ex P ene *ce. It is for this reason that 
comparison. the mystics treated of in this Volume, 

who form but a cross-section of that 
Divine Society, yet represent the reality of the Mystic 
Assembly completely and to the fullest extent. We shall 
make an endeavour in this Preface first to give a general 
outline of certain points of comparison between the Mystics 
treated of in this Volume and the Mystics especially of the 
Christian world. After having gone into these comparisons, 
we shall treat in a general way some points in the 
Psychology and Philosophy of Mysticism, affecting both the 
Mystics of the East and the West. The greatest of the 
Mystics treated of in this Volume, namely, JfianeSvara, has 
naturally his comparison with such great philosophico-mystical 
luminaries of the West as Plotinus, Augustine, and Eckhart. 
Baron Von Hiigel has said that there is " a radical inconsis- 
tency between the metaphysician and the saint " (Eternal Life, 
p. 85). But we think that the Baron is wrong when we see 
such splendid specimens of the combination of Philosophy 
and Mysticism as in the personalities of the great Mystics we 
are talking about, namely, Jnanesvara, Plotinus, Eckhart, and 
Augustine. Who will not say that the JMneSvarl of the one, and 
the "Enneads", the "Mystische Schriften",and the "De Civitate 
Dei" of the other are not embodiments of combined philoso- 
phic and mystical wisdom ? Secondly, JnaneSvara may yet 
again be fitly compared with Dante, whose beatific vision, philo- 
sophic imagination, and poetic melody are just a counterpart 
of that greatest of Indian poet-mystics, JiianeSvara. Thirdly, 
Jnanesvara may again be fitly compared with the brilliant 
St. John of the Cross, whose fulness and variety of mystical 
experience and whose manner of presenting it stand almost 
unsurpassed in the literature of Western Mysticism. Of the 
Female Mystics of Maharashtra, the three that stand to view 


at once, namely, Muktabai, Janabai, and Kanhopatra natur- 
ally have their comparison with such celebrated names as 
Julian of Norwich. Catherine of Siena, and St. Teresa. It 
is true that the Female Mystics of Maharashtra are more sub- 
jective in their temperament, while those of the West are more 
or less activistic, barring of course such mystics as Madame 
Guyon ; and it is again true that the idea of sexual symbolism 
in religion is less prominent with the female mystics of Maha- 
rashtra than it is with their Western compeers. Of the Un- 
touchable Mystics, Chokhamela, the pariah, naturally stands 
comparison with Bohme, the shoe-maker, with this difference, 
that while Chokhamela does not yield to Bohme in the quality 
of the heart which makes him touch Reality nearmost, Bohme 
is certainly superior in'so far as the philosophic setting of mysti- 
cism is concerned. His doctrines of the Microcosm, Anti- 
thesis, and Correspondence have left a deep impression upon 
Western Thought, and it is not without reason that we count 
among his disciples such great names as Law, Blake, and 
Saint Martin. Tukarama, another type of Mystics in Maha- 
rashtra, has' his comparison, firstly, so far as the personalistic 
element in mysticism is concerned, with the great Suso, whose 
joys and fetors, griefs and tears, waitings and railings, as well as 
whose final consummation are exactly like those of his Indian 
compeer. Then, again, as might be seen by reference to the 
two chief stages of Tukarama's mystical experience as de- 
scribed in the later pages of this volume, the dark night of the 
soul in Tukarama is followed by a period of fruitful consum- 
mation, naturally bringing to mind the two stages through 
which the great English mystic Bunyan passed from his 
" Pilgrim's Progress " to the " Grace Abounding ", from his 
early " spiritual agonies, inward deaths, and inward hell, to 
the new divine births that surely follow after these, as after 
winter follows spring ", at which stage, Bunyan saw with the 
eyes of his soul the beatific vision of Jesus Christ standing at 
God's right hand. Finally, Tukarama could be very well 
paralleled to the brilliant European mystic Dionysius the 


Areopagite, whose venturesome intimations of the Absolute, 
description of God as the Divine Dark, and accurate analysis 
of the mystical and ecstatic consciousness are excellently 
paralleled by those of the Maratha Mystic. Finally, that acti- 
vistic type of Maharashtra mystics, namely, Ramadasa, has 
naturally his comparison with European mystics like Pytha- 
goras, Ignatius Loyola, and Ruysbroeck. Ramadasa founded 
an Order of his disciples as Pythagoras founded his. Rama- 
dasa had a political colouring to his religious teaching, as 
Pythagoras even more definitely had in founding his political 
Order, with this difference, that while Ramadasa's Order was* 
backed by the regal power of Sivaji and succeeded, Pythagoras' 
Order succumbed on account of its over-much political aspi- 
rations to found a kingdom. On the other hand, even though 
mysticism and politics were combined in Ramadasa and Igna- 
tius Loyola, with the one the two ran concurrently without 
the one eclipsing the other, while, with the other, political 
activity became so absorbing as to throw mystical experi- 
ence entirely into the back-ground. Finally, Ramadasa's teach- 
ing on the combination of the active and the spiritual life, 
that " one should spend one's entire life in strenuous work, 
and yet again in steady contemplation in a moment " (Dasa- 
bodha, XIX. 8. 29), is beautifully paralleled in the teaching 
of Ruysbroeck, who tells us that " the most inward man must 
live his life in these two ways, namely, in work and in rest ; 
in each, lie must be whole and undivided, and is perpetually 
called by God to renew both his rest and his work ". Indeed 
"he is a living and willing instrument of God, with which 
God works whatsoever He will, and howsoever He will. He 
is thus strong and courageous in suffering all that God allows 
to befall him, and is ready alike for contemplation and action" 
(Adornment, ii. 65). 

3. So far we have discussed in a general way how the 
Mystics of Maharashtra stand as compared with the Mystics 
of the West. Let us now consider by reference to certain 
particular passages how the two sets of Mystics inculcate 


the same mystical teaching. In the first place, so far as 
the Vision of the Self is concerned, 

C " * * e * us see k w J fiane ^ vara on *h- e one 

hand, and Tauler and Ruysbroeck on 
the other, describe it in almost" identical terms. JfianeS- 
vara tells us (Mysticism in Maharashtra, p. 120) that " when 
the tree of unreality has been cut down, one is able to see one's 
Self, one's own form. This is, however, not to be compared to 
the seeing of the reflection in a mirror ; for the reflection in a 
mirror is simply an other of the seeing man. The vision of the 
individual Self is as a Spring which may exist in its own ful- 
ness even when it does not come up into a Well. When water 
dries up, the image in it goes back to its prototype ; when 
the pitcher is broken, space mixes with space ; when fuel is 
burnt, fire returns into itself ; in a similar way, is the vision of 
the Self by the Self. This is the Ultimate Being which exists 
in itself, after reaching which, there is no return ". Let us 
hear what Tauler says : " When through all manner of exer- 
cises, the outer man has been converted into the inward 
man, then the Godhead nakedly descends into the depths 
of the pure soul, so that the spirit becomes one with Him. 
Could such a man behold himself, he would see himself so noble 
that he would fancy himself God, and see hirnpelf a thousand 
times nobler than he is in himself " (Sermon for the Fifteenth 
Sunday after Trinity). Also let us hear what Ruysbroeck 
says. " Thanks to that innate Light ", says Ruysbroeck, 
" these interior men, these contemplatives, are wholly changed, 
and they are united to that very Light, by which they see, 
and which they see. Thus do contemplatives pursue the 
eternal Image in Whose Likeness they were fashioned ; 
and they contemplate God and all things in one, in 
an open Vision bathed in Divine Light " (L'Ornement 
des Noces Spirituelles, iii. 5). Similar is the teaching 
of the Upanishads, which tell us that when a man 
reaches the acme of his spiritual realisation, "he sees 
his Self, his own form, suffused in a halo of dazzling 


light 5 ' (Maitri Upanishad, II. 1-3). We may have a 
glimpse from these utterances as to how the great mystics 
of various ages and climes have an identical teaching about 
the vision of the Self, which is the acme of their .spiritual 
4. As regards the identity of Self and God, let us see how 

Jnanesvara, St. John of the Cross, and 

The Identity of Self TO , . . . , , ., ' . 

and God Plotmus again inculcate an identical 

teaching. " Krishna and Arjuna," 
says Jnanesvara, that is to say, God and the Self, " were 
like two clean mirrors, placed one against the other, the 
one reflecting itself infinitely in the other.' Arjuna saw 
himself along with God in God, and God saw Himself 
along with Arjuna in Arjuna, and Samjaya saw both of 
them together ! When one mirror is placed against another, 
which, may we suppose, reflects which?" (M. M., p. 137). 
St. John of the Cross tells us in his Canticles that " the thread 
of love binds so closely God and the Soul, and so unites them, 
that it transforms them and makes them one by love ; so that, 
though in essence different, yet in glory and appearance the 
soul seems God, arid God the soul" (Cant. xxxi). And, again, 
" Let me be so transformed in Thy beauty, that, being alike 
in beauty, we may see ourselves both in Thy beauty ; so that 
one beholding the other, each may see his own beauty in the 
other, the beauty of both being Thine only, and mine absorb- 
ed in it. And thus I shall see Thee in Thy beauty, and my- 
self in Thy beauty, and Thou shalt see me in Thy beauty ; 
for Thy beauty will be my beauty, and so we shall see, each 
the other, in Thy beauty " (Cant, xxxvi. 3). Also the great 
Plotmus tells us : " If then a man sees himself become one 
with the One, he has in himself a likeness of the One, and if 
he passes out of himself as an image to its archetype, he has 
reached the end of his journey. This may be called the flight 
of the alone to the Alone " (Enneads, VI. 9. 9-11). According 
to these mystics, therefore, the relati>n of Self and God may be 
likened to the relation between an image and its prototype, 


but is never fully represented by it. The union is so close 
as to defy all expression ; but if any analogy is to be found, 
it may be found in the infinite reflections of one mirror in 
another when placed over against it, and of this again into 
the first, as Jiianesvara tells us, anticipating closely a famous 
phenomenon in Optics. 

5. In a curious passage, again, Plotimis, Jnanesvara and 

_, n . ^ the Upanishads speak the same language 

The Royal Proces- , , , ^ . ' , n ^ -X , 

8 j on about what might be called the Royal 

Procession. God is here considered as 
King ; and Intelligence, or the Virtues, or the Elements, are 
considered as his vassals. In the Upanishads we are told 
how " On the approach of a great king the policemen, 
magistrates, charioteers, and governors of towns wait upon 
him with food, and drink, and tents, saying he comes, he 
approaches, similarly, do all these Elements wait on the 
conscious Self, saying this Brahman comes, this Brahman 
approaches ; and again, as at the time of the king's de- 
parture, the policemen, magistrates, charioteers, and gover- 
nors of towns gather round him, similarly, do all vital airs 
gather round the Self at the time of death " (Brihadaranyaka, 
TV. 3. 37-38). Plotinus with his favourite theory of the emana- 
tion of the Nous from God, of the Soul from the Nous, of Matter 
from the Soul, tells us how " Intelligence or Nous is a Second 
God, who shows himself before we can behold the First. The 
First sits above on Intelligence as on a glorious throne. For 
it was right that He should be mounted, and that there should 
be an ineffable beauty to go before Him ; as when some great 
King appears in state, first come those of less degree, then 
those who are greater and more dignified, then his body-guard 
who have somewhat of royalty in their show, then those who 
are honoured next to himself. After all these, the great King 
himself appears suddenly, and all pray and do obeisance " 
(Enneads, V. 5. 3). Jfianesvara tells us about the march on- 
ward of a Mystic who is Sntering the kingdom of God : "By 
putting on himself the armour of dispassion, the Mystic mounts 


the steed of Rajayoga, and by holding the weapon of concen- 
tration in the firm grip of his discrimination, he wards off small 
and great obstacles before him. He goes into the battle- 
field of life, as the Sun moves into darkness, in order to win 
the damsel of Liberation. He cuts to pieces the enemies that 
come in his way, such as egoism, arrogance, desire, passion, 

and others Then all the Virtues come to 

welcome him as vassals before a king At 

every step as he is marching on the imperial road of 
spiritual life, the damsels of the psychological States 
come to receive and worship him. Maidens of the Yogic 
Stages come and wave lights before him. Powers and 
Prosperities assemble round him in thousands to see the 
spectacle, and rain over him showers of flowers, and as he is 
approaching the true Swarajya, all the three worlds appear 
to him full of joy" (M.M., pp. 127-128). If we discount 
a little from these accounts of the Royal Procession the 
distinction between Self and God, which from the point of 
view of Mysticism we must, it is curious that the same 
idea of this victorious procession should have been present 
to the mind of the Upanishadic Seer, the great Alexandrian 
mystic, as well as the foremost Saint of Maharashtra. 
6. In the matter of the determination of the characteristics 
of the Ideal Sage, again, there is a very 
The Ideal Sage. close parallel in the teachings of the 
Mystics of the East and the West. One 
of the most celebrated descriptions of the Ideal Saint that 
occurs in Western literature is in Plotinus, where he describes 
the Ideal Sage as One without inward difference and without 
difference from the rest of Being : " Nothing stirred within 
him ; no choler, no concupiscence of the alien was with him 
when he had gained the summit ; not even reason was left, 
nor any intellection ; nay, himself was not present to him- 
self Even of beauty he is no longer aware, for now he 

has travelled beyond the beautiful. The very concert of the 
virtues is over-passed" : 


...................... ov 

ydprt IKLVCLTO Trap* (uJry, o 0i;/x6s, o&x lifiQvfda &\\ov irapTjv afrry 
u AAV oflW \6yos oflW ns y^cra oAS 9 dfXws aMs. 
. oi>8 T&V KaXuv, dXX4 Kal rb Ka\bv ijdij birepOtuv, vircp- 
xal rdy r&v Aperw xP^ y ............ 

In short, Plotinus tells us that his Ideal Sage has passed be- 
yond reason, beyond the beautiful, beyond even the virtues. 
He tells us, furthermore, that his Sage is entirely " God-pos- 
sessed : he is poised in the void, and has attained to quiet ; 
in his Being there is no lightest quiver of deviation, no return 
of consciousness upon itself: utterly stable, he has become 
as it were the principle of stability" (Enneads, Vt. 9. 9-11). 
If we refer to the Upanishads, we will see that the Ideal Sage 
is described in identical terms : " For a man to whom 
all these beings have become the Atman, what grief, what 
infatuation, can there possibly be, when he has seen the unity 
in all things ? All his desires have been at an end, because 
he has attained to the fulfilment of the highest desire, namely, 
the realisation of the Atman. As drops of water may not 
adhere to the leaf of a lotus, even so may sin never contami- 
nate him ...... He has attained to eternal tranquillity, be- 

cause as the Upaiiishad puts it, he has ' collected ' the God- 
head. All his senses along with the mind and intellect have 
become motionless on account of the contemplation of the 
Absolute in the process of Yoga " (Ranade : Constructive 
Survey of Upanishadic Philosophy, pp. 315-316). We need 
not cite many illustrations from the Maharashtra Saints to 
see how this doctrine of the Ideal Sage preached by Plotinus 
is also preached by them. We may only take one or two 
illustrations from Jnanesvara and Ramadasa. Jnanesvara 
tells us about his Ideal Sage, that as the result of his devoted 
concentration on God, " his senses lose their power. His 
mind remains folded in the heart ; the body holds body ; 
breath breath ; and activity recoils upon itself ; ecstasy is 
reached, and the object of meditation is gained as soon as he 


sits for meditation. The mind feels its identity with the Self, 
and reaches the empire of Bliss by merging its identity in Him" 
(M.M., pp. 121-122). Ramadasa also tells us that "the 
Ideal Saint is he who has left no desires in him, and has no 
passion in him ; his desires are centred in the Self. He has 
no reason for logic-chopping, nor does he bear hatred, or 
jealousy, towards others. When he has seen the Self, he has no 
reason for grief, or infatuation, or fear. God indeed is beyond 
these, and the Self becomes assimilated to God " (M.M., 
pp. 394-395). 

7. In the matter of the teaching about the Ugly Soul, 

again, Plotinus and Jnanesvara incul- 
Tkc Ugly Soul. ca *e an identical teaching. Plotinus tells 

us that "an Ugly soul is intemperate and 
unjust, full of lusts, full of confusion, fearful through cowar- 
dice, envious through meanness, thinking nothing but what 
is mortal and base, crooked in all its parts, living a life of 
fleshly passion, and thinking ugliness delightful" (Bigg: 
Neoplatonism, p. 277). JfianeSvara's description of the de- 
moniac man is only a perfected commentary on the points 
urged by Plotinus : " An evil man is he who talks about 
his own knowledge, and sounds as with a cymbal his own good 
deeds. As fire may spread through a forest and burn both 
animate and inanimate objects, similarly, by his actions he is 
the cause of grief to the whole world. In mind he is full of 
doubts. He is like a dirty well in a forest on the surface of 
which there are thorns, and inside there are bones. By his 
instability he is brother to an ape. His mind roams like an 
ox that is let loose. He is all the while immersed in sensual 
pleasures. He knows no humility like an unbending wooden 
stick. He enters where he ought not to enter. He touches 
what he in body or mind must not touch. He sees what he 
ought not to see. He has lost all sense of shame. He is deaf 

to the censure of others Harsh as he is, his mind is like 

the hole of a serpent ; his vision is like a discharge of arrows ; 
Ids speech is like a shower of red-hot coal. He makes a 


mixture of virtue and sin, and cannot distinguish between 
their consequences. He opposes the will of God, and lolls in 
the dung-hill of misery, the very sewage-pit of the world of 
existence " (M.M., pp. 82-92). 

8. In a famous passage, again, the two great Saints of the 

East and the West, Plotinus and JiianeS- 

The Sanctuary and , , , , , . , , 

the Stat vara, inculcate the same teaching about 

the characterisation of the ecstatic con- 
sciousness. Jiianesvara tells us in a celebrated passage, which 
we have not incorporated in this volume, but which occurs 
in a famous Aratt which goes after him, that " when he had 
entered the Sanctuary, his bodily consciousness was lost. His 
mind was changed to supermind. All sense of bound-ness 
was then over. Reason came to a stand-still. Words were 
metamorphosed into no-words ; and he saw his own Self. His 
eye-lashes ceased to twinkle. Distinction between night arid 
day was gone. The whole universe was a-light, and was filled 
with the resonance of God. He was merged in an ocean of 
bliss, and his beatification was ineffable." Let us compare 
with this account what Plotinus tells us in regard to the 
Sanctuary. By the " Sanctuary " like Jnanesvara, Plotinus 
means a state of ecstatic consciousness, and by the " statues " 
he means the phenomena experienced in the sensuous state. 
The true mystic is he, says Plotinus, who presses onward to 
the inmost Sanctuary, leaving behind him the statues in the 
outer temple : " These are the lesser spectacles ; that other 
was scarce to be called a spectacle, but another mode of 
awareness, an ecstasy, a simplifying or enlarging of the Self, 
an aspiration towards contact, a poise and subtilising of 
thought to perfect Union ; this is the seeing reserved to the 
Sanctuary " (Enneads, VI. 9. 9-11) : 

ft Si) ylvcrcti 

Setfrs/wx 0ed/Aara. rb St fews l\v otJ 6tfa/xa, d\\d iXXos rpfaos rou 
Idew, J-va"racris /cat a^rXwcrts /cat C7r5o(ris avrov icat ttyecri? Trpis d07jj> 
teal <rrd<ris Kal ircpwdrjvis wpds e0a/0jbw>7?}j/, efaep rts r& & rip 


We may see by consideration of the passages from Jnanefi- 
vara and Plotinus how the inmost state of consciousness, 
namely, Ecstasy, is characterised by them as the Sanctuary, 
and the outer state of consciousness as the outer temple. 
Many are those, who, according to these Mystics, enter 
the outer temple, but few are those who can enter the 

9. In the matter o{ super-sensuous experience which is com- 

mon to all mystics irrespective of time or 
Analogies of Mystical di we need not dwdl here 


We need only point out one or two very 

striking parallels between the experiences of the mystics 
of the East and the West in this regard. Firstly, in regard 
to the super-sensuous perception of smell, the saint Nivritti- 
natha tells us that the " Experience of God is sweeter than 
sandal. God is indeed to us more fragrant than jasmine or 
its manifold varieties. The wish-yielding tree yields whatever 
we desire, but God is more fragrant than that tree. The light 
of God to me is fragrance itself, says Nivrittinatha ; life in 
such a one is enough for me." We may compare this utterance 
about the fragrance of God in Nivrittinatha with a similar one 
in St. John of the Cross : " The Awakening is a movement 
of the Word in the depth of the soul of such grandeur, autho- 
rity, and glory, and of such profound sweetness, that all the 
balsams, all the aromatic herbs and flowers of the world, seern 
to be mingled and shaken together for the production of that 
sweetness " (Living Flame, iv. 3). Then, again, in the matter 
of the Darkness of God, we have the extreme parallel between 
the teachings of Jnanesvara and Angela of Foligno. To quote 
Jnanesvara : " One can never too much sing His praises 
when the dark-complexioned God is seen. It is this same 
dark Being who lives in the heavens. He is the same as the 
Atman. T have seen Him with these eyes. He plays a dark 
game on a dark night ; He manifests Himself as a dark- 
blue god. The dark-blue colour fills the whole universe. The 
heavens are merged in that blue light, This blue God lives 


in our very hearts, says Jnanesvara " (M.M., pp. 170-171). 
Compare this utterance with that of Angela of Foligno, when 
she tells us in her book of Divine Consolations : " Afterwards 
I did see Him darkly, and this darkness was the greatest bless- 
ing that could be imagined, and no thought could conceive 
aught that would equal this. By that blessing which came 

with the darkness, I was made so sure of God 

that I can never again doubt but that I do of a 

certainty possess Him Unto this most high power 

of beholding God ineffably through such great darkness 
was my spirit uplifted but three times only and no more ; 
and although I beheld Him countless times, and always 
darkly, yet never in such an high manner and through such 
great darkness " (The New Mediaeval Library, pp. ] 82-1 83). 
It is not a mere metaphorical darkness that these 
mystics are speaking of, but a veritable, mystical, real 

10. Finally, in regard to the value of the Name, the mys- 

_. . , . tics of India are no less insistent upon 

The Value of the ., ~ ^ ^ . ^. 

II its efficacy than their compeer mystics 

of the West. Indeed, if there is any 
bond of unity more than any other between Hinduism 
and Christianity in their teaching about the realisation 
of God, it is their identical insistence on the efficacy of 
meditation by means of the Name. It is not only 
in Christianity, however, that the Name assumes such 
gigantic power. Even in the Egyptian and Hebrew reli- 
gions, we find the same insistence upon the efficacy of the 
Name. Dr. Farnell tells us that " the very first Egyptian 
God Ra effected his own creation by the utterance of his own 
portentous name, and then created all the things of the uni- 
verse " (Evolution of Religion, p. 188). Similar again is the 
attitude of the Hebrews towards the name Yahweh ; while 
Christianity insists that God's name is above everything 
else : " Hallowed be Thy Name ", " the Name that is above 
every name", It is ? however, not merely on the name of God 


that Christianity insists, but even on the name of Jesus. 
Even the utterance of the name of Jesus would be as good 
as the utterance of the name of God. In his " Virtues of the 
Holy Name of Jesus ", "Rolle tells us : "0 Jesus, verily Thou 
Whom we call Saviour dost save man, and therefore 
Jesus is Thy Name. Ah ! Ah ! that wonderful Name ! 
Ah ! That delectable Name ! This is the Name that is 
above all names, without which no man hopes for salva- 
tion. Verily, the Name of Jesus is in rny mind a 
joyous song, and heavenly music in mine ear, and in 
my month a honeyed sweetness. Wherefore, no wonder, T 
love that Name which gives comfort to me in all my 
anguish." And the " Cloud of Unknowing " says that 
one might utter any name of God one pleases. Indeed, the 
shorter it is, the better : " And if thee list have this intent 
(of union with God) lapped and f olden in one word, for thou 
sbouldest have better hold thereupon, take thee but a little 
word of one syllable : for so it is better than two, for ever the 
shorter it is the better it accordeth with the work of the Spirit. 
And such a word is this word God, or this word Love. Choose 
thee whether thou wilt, or another : as thee list, which that 
thou likest best of one syllable. And fasten this word to thy 
heart, so that it never go thence for thing that befalleth. This 
word shall be thy shield and thy spear whether thou ridest 
on peace or war. With this word thou shalt beat on this 
cloud and this darkness above thee. With this word thou 
shalt smite down all manner of thought under the cloud of for- 
getting." We need not dwell in detail in this Preface 
upon the efficacy of the Name among the mystics of 
Maharashtra. We may make only a few short excerpts 
from Jnanesvara, Ramadasa, and Tukarama in order to 
see how these mystics have an identical teaching with 
their compeer mystics of the West in the matter of 
the value of the Name. Tukarama tells us: "The 
sweetness of the Name is indeed indescribable. The 
tongue soon gets to other kinds of flavour j 


but the flavour of the Name increases every moment. 
In fact, the sweetness of the Name cannot be known 
to God Himself. A lotus plant cannot know the fragrance 
of its flowers, nor can the oyster-shell enjoy its pearls " 
(M.M., p. 321). Ramadasa says: "We should never 
forget God's Name, whether in happiness or in sorrow. 
Whenever difficulties overcome us, whenever we are down 
with the worries of life, we should meditate on the 
Name of God. By the Name of God are all our 
difficulties dispelled, and all our calamities swept away. 
By meditation on God's Name, Prahlada was saved from 
dangerous situations. There are a thousand and one Names 
of God. It matters not which Name we utter. If we only 
utter it regularly and continuously, Death shall* have no power 
over us. If a man does nothing but only utter the Name 
of God, God is satisfied and protects His Devotee " (M.M., 
pp. 399-400). And, again, J&anesvara tells us that " by the 
celebration of God's Name, the Saints have destroyed the 
raison d'etre of repentance. The way to the abode of Death 
has been destroyed. What can restraint restrain now ? What 
can self-control control ? By the celebration of God's Name 
they have put an end to the misery of the world. The whole 
world has become full of bliss " (M.M., p. 114). By 
a comparison of the teachings of the mystics of the 
East and the West about the different topics we have 
hitherto discussed, we may say that they are in no way 
the outcome of any imaginable inter-influence, but the 
consequence of a personal, common, intimate, mystical 
experience. As Herakleitos says, those that are wakeful 
have one common world : those that are sleeping, each a 
different world. 


11. So far we have made a study in comparisons. Let us 
now discuss in a general way some of the points of the 
Psychology and Philosophy of Mysticism which emerge from 
a consideration of the study of the mystics whose account 


is embodied in this volume. It is not possible in this short 

Preface to go into the details of all the 

logy and Philosophy un der this head ; but we may take the 
of Mysticism: The liberty of discussing a few of the more 
Dark Ni$ht of the important points. The first point that is 

worthy of consideration is as to whether 
what St. John of the Cross calls the Dark Night of the 
Soul is a necessary ingredient in the perfection of spiritual 
experience. It is true that persons like Bunyan passed 
through the Dark Night. It is also true that Plotinus 
never experienced the Dark Night at all. In a similar way, 
among the Mystics of Maharashtra we may note Tukarama 
and Namadeva as having fully experienced the Dark Night. 
Ramadasa experienced it just next to them ; while JiianeS- 
vara seems to be almost free from the experience of the 
Dark Night. In the chief work of Jnanesvara, the JiianeS- 
vari, there is not the slightest touch of this Dark Night. It 
is only when we come to his Abhangas that we find some of 
his experience embodied in terms of the Dark Night. On the 
whole, the question arises, is the Dark Night a sine qua non of 
the completion of mystical experience ? Dean Inge supposes 
that one may even distrust a mystic who has not passed 
through the Dark Night (Philosophy of Tlotinus, II. 150). 
According to Delacroix, it seems as if the Dark Night is as 
necessary to the mystical life as Ecstasy. The Dark Night, 
he says, condenses the whole vision of things into a negative 
intuition, as Ecstasy into a positive. The Author of the 
" Cloud of Unknowing " tells us in a manner which has been 
seldom surpassed in beauty of emotion that there always 
hangs a darkness between us and God : " This darkness and 
this cloud is betwixt thee and thy God, and telleth thee that 
thou mayest neither see Him clearly by light of understanding 
nor feel Him in the sweetness of love. And therefore shape 
thee to bide in this darkness as long as thou mayest, evermore 
crying after Him that thou lovest. Then will He sometimes 


peradventure send out a beam of ghostly light, piercing this 
Cloud of Unknowing that is betwixt thee and Him ; and shew 
thee some of His privity, the which man may not, nor cannot 
speak." It seems according to this author that the Dark 
Night is a necessary feature of spiritual experience ; and one 
of the most helpful suggestions that he gives is when he says 
that an advancing mystic must abide in darkness as long as 
he may, ever crying after Him that he loves. Tn the " As- 
cent of Mount Carmel ", St. John of the Cross tells us that this 
experience is called Dark Night for three reasons : first, on 
account of the dark nature of the starting point, namely, the 
evanescent life of the world ; secondly, on account of the dark 
nature of the road by which one must travel, namely, that of 
faith ; finally, on account of the dark nature of the goal to be 
reached, which is infinite in its nature. The Dark Night ac- 
cording to St. John of the Cross is thus trebly significant. 
Tillyard makes a clever suggestion that as, in physical experi- 
ment, excess of light becomes darkness, similarly, the Dark 
Night in mystical experience is caused not by God withdraw- 
ing himself, but by the seeker being unable to sustain the 
brilliance of His vision (Spiritual Exercises, p. 183). If we 
thus take into account the experiences of the mystics of the 
world on the subject of the Dark Night, we shall see that most 
of them, if not all, have passed through this intermediate 
agonising stage. Rarely a mystic here or a mystic there might 
not have suffered the full effects of the buffets of misfortune, 
physical, moral, and mental. On the whole, however, it re- 
mains true that the Dark Night is more or less a necessary 
ingredient, and it seems that mystical healthy-mindedness 
is never reached, or can never be fully appreciated, unless it 
is preceded by a mystical sick-mindedness. Carlyle was 
eminently right when he saicl that before we pass from the 
Ever-lasting No to the Ever-lasting Yea, we must necessarily 
pass through the Centre of Indifference. 

12. A second point that emerges from the consideration of 
the teachings of the Mystics treated of in this volume iu 


comparison with the Mystics of the West is the nature and 

value of the Super- sensuous Experience 

The place of Super- which is cn j oye d by them all. We need 

sensuous Experience in ,T \ * -i , -i ,i_ 

M .. , ,.< not discuss here in detail the various 

Mystical Life. 

items of Super- sensuous Experience 

which have been treated of in this volume. They are written 
in such text and capital letters that he who runs by may read. 
We shall therefore only take account of certain analogues of 
Super-sensuous Experience which we find among the mystics of 
the West, and to assess the Eastern and Western experiences 
together. Eckhart's doctrine of the " Das Fiinkelein " which 
he regarded as the " apex " of spirit, by which the spirit of 
man was gradually informed with God and became God-like, 
is famous in the history of Mysticism. Fox's doctrine of the 
" Inner Light ", about which Dr. Hodgkin has remarked that 
even though that constitutes the fundamental platform of 
Fox's teaching, yet all the other preachings of Fox were merely 
logical consequences of that doctrine, such as the disuse of 
sacraments, the abandonment of liturgy, silent worship, and 
unpaid ministry, thus proving how mystical experience may 
lie at the bottom of moral, social, as well as ritualistic teach- 
ing. Richard Rolle's famous expression that, in his cases 
" Calor was changed into Canor ", the fire of love into a song 
of joy, has served to mark him out as one of the greatest of 
mystics, in whom the apprehension of the divine took the form 
of Music. Tennyson's " Spiritual City " with all her spire, 
and gateways in a glory like one pearl no larger which he 
regarded as the goal of all the Saints, is also a very charac- 
teristic type of mystical experience. Francis Thompson's 
" Trumpet-sounds from the hid Battlements of Eternity " 
is yet again mystical experience in another form. St. John 
of the Cross's apostrophe to Touch, which penetrates sub- 
tilely the very substance of the soul and absorbs it wholly in 
divine sweetness, is also another very characteristic type of 
mystical experience, upon which mystics have not dwelt at 
equal length. " Proclaim it to the world, my Soul/' says 


St, John of the Cross, " No, proclaim it. not, for the world 
knowetlvnot the gentle air, neither will it listen to it " (Living 
Flame, ii. 18-21). ' In this way does St. John of the Cross throw 
doubt on the possibility and utility of the expression of this 
kind of mystical experience before those who do not know. 
We need not multiply instances to illustrate the different kinds 
of mystical experience among the Western mystics. We shall 
only mention here one most characteristic type of experience 
in St. Paul when he regarded God's grace as, a voice speak- 
ing articulately in his soul : "I knew a man iii Christ above 
fourteen years ago, (whether in the body,. I cannot tell ; or 
whether out of the body, I cannot tell : God knoweth ;) such 
an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a 
man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell : 
God knoweth ;). How that he was caught up into paradise, 
and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful to utter., 
Of such an one will I glory : yet of myself T will not glory, 
but in mine infirmities " (2 Cor. xii. 2-5). St. Paul is too 
humble to say that it was he who had heard those unspeak- 
able words, of which he is speaking. But the fact remains 
that mystics like him have heard the voice and the words 
along with St. Patil. The question arises- how shall we ex- 
plain all these, mystical phenomena ? Have they any physio- 
logical correlations or not ? Or are they acts of mere self-hypno- 
tisation ? Or have they any objective validity in the sense that, 
they are universal among mystics of all lands ? This again is 
a problem of such great philosophical importance that we can- 
not afford to discuss it in a rough-shod manner at this place.. 
For that another time and another place will have to be found. 
But the admonition which St. John of the Cross offers in 
* 'Mount Carmel" remains true that we must not allow our minds 
to be obsessed by these sensations and locutions. The most 
interior way to God is- not these representations or sensations 
or locutions, but a direct love of God. For, says St. John 
of the Cross, thje fly that touches honey cannot fly : " We 
Bmst always reject and disregard theae representations and 


sensations Let such persons learn to disregard these 

locutions, and to ground their will in humble love ; let them 
practise good works and suffer patiently, imitating the Son 
of God, and mortifying themselves in all things : This, and 
not the abundance of interior discourses, is the road unto 

spiritual good We must fly from all mystical phenomena, 

without examining whether they be good or evil. Visions 
are at best childish toys. The fly that touches honey cannot 
fly." Mystical phenomena are a necessary accompaniment 
of mystical life. But what constitutes the essence of mystic 
realisation is not these mystical phenomena themselves, but 
an unfaltering, unbending, unending love of God. 

13. There is one important respect in which the teaching 
of some of the Saints of Maharashtra in 

Religious Conscious- connection with the teachings of a few 

ness and Sexual Consci- , , T . , ^ T . . - , , , TT , 

or the prominent Mystics of the West 

must be considered with some care. It 
is about the relation of religious consciousness to sexual 
consciousness. On the whole, the Saints of Maharashtra 
seem to be free from sexual imagery in religion, barring 
of course, a few passages in Jnanesvara or Changadeva 
or Tukarama where we find the relation of Soul to God 
treated as on a par with the relation of the Bride to 
the Bridegroom. It is also true that KanhopatrS, like 
her Hindi compeer Mirabai, tried to wed God, in that 
matter comparing with Catherine of Siena, who wore a pearl- 
ring on her finger as a symbol of her marriage with God. The 
European mystics are, however, in general, far more insistent 
upon sexual imagery in religion than the mystics of Maha- 
rashtra. In JMnesvara, there is only one small reference 
in the Jnanesvari (M.M., p. 130), where Jnane&vara speaks 
about the relation between God and His Devotee as being the 
relation between husband and wife. In one or two of his 
Abhangas, however, Jnanesvara brings out this sexual element 
in fuller detail. In one place, he tells us that he has been 
thrown away from God in a distant country. The night appears 


as day, and JnaneSvara pines that God should not yet visit 
him. " The cloud is singing and the wind is ringing. The 
Moon and the Champaka tree have lost their soothing effects. 
The sandal paste serves only to torment my body. The bed 
of flowers is regarded as very cool, but it burns me like cin- 
ders of fire. The Kokila is proverbially supposed to sing 
sweet tunes ; but in my case, says Jnanadeva, they are in- 
creasing my love-pangs. As I look in a mirror, I am unable 
to see my face. To such a plight lias God reduced me " (M.M., 
p. 109). Arid again, Changadeva tells us that the body is the 
bride, while the Atman is the bride-groom ; and he describes 
himself as having been free from care, his body having been 
delivered over into the hands of the Self. "After the marriage 
takes place, the Bride-groom will go to his house, arid the Bride 
will be sent with him. I shall remain content, now that I have 
delivered over the Bride into the hands of the Bride -groom' 5 
(M.M., p. 77). In Tukarama and other saints, the devotee 
is likewise occasionally depicted as a wistful, sorrowful, 
longing bride, who pines on account of her separation 
from her lord. This relation of the bride and the bride-groom 
is, however, more insistently and more incessantly brought 
out in the history of European Mysticism. We have authori- 
ty in some parables and certain expressions of Jesus Christ 
in regard to such a relationship ; Paul in the Rom. vii. 1-4, 
and more definitely in the Eph. v. 23-33, speaks of the " great 
mystery" of Christ and the Church as being husband and wife, 
and tells us that as the husband is the head of the wife, 
even so is Christ the head of the Church, the husband giving 
love to his wife and the wife giving reverence in return ; 
one or two passages of the Apocalypse speak also in a like 
strain about the said relationship ; Ruysbroeck regards reli- 
gious love under the figure of spiritual espousal with the Divine 
Bride-groom ; while the most insistent and the most glaring 
utterances in regard to such a sexual relationship occur in St. 
John of the Cross. St. John speaks of " the Touch of the 
Beloved as setting the heart on fire with love, as if a spark 


had fallen upon it. Then the will, in an instant, like one 
roused from sleep burns with the fire of love, longs for God, 
praises Him and gives Him thanks " (Cant. xxv. 5). The 
delicious wound which the Bride-groom confers is all the more 
delicious, as it penetrates the inmost substance of the soul. 
This burning and this wound are, in St. John's opinion, the 
highest condition attainable in this life (Living Flame, ii. 9). 
" In that burn the flame rushes forth and surges vehemently, 
as in a glowing furnace or forge. The soul feels that the 
wound it has thus received is sovereignly delicious. Tt feels 
its love to grow, strengthen, and refine itself to such a degree 
as to seem to itself as if seas of fire were in it, filling it with 

love The soul beholds itself as one immense sea of fire " 

(Living Flame, 10, 11). St. John of the Cross likewise talks 
of the deliberate assaults of God upon the soul. " And to 
make the soul perfect and to raise it above the flesh more a,nd 
more, he assails it divinely and gloriously, and these assaults 
are really encounters wherein God penetrates the soul, deifies 
the very substance of it, and renders it godlike, divine " (Liv- 
ing Flame, i. 34). While the gifts of love which the bride- 
groom confers upon the soul in the spiritual marriage are ines- 
timable : " The endearing expressions of Divine love which 
pass so frequently between them are beyond all utterance. 
The soul is occupied in praising Him and in giving Him thanks, 
and He in exalting, praising, and thanking the soul" (Canfc. 
xxxiv). We do not suppose that the sexual relationship 
between the Soul and God has been more abundantly or more 
passionately brought out anywhere else in the literature of 
the world. The question arises how it is that these mystics 
come to regard the relationship between the Self and God 
as on a par with the relationsldp between the Bride and the 
Bride-groom. Is it a morbid pathological condition where 
the mystics portray their otherwise inexpressible love of the 
sex ? Is it due to what Freud and Jung call the libido, which is at 
the root of every conative and creative activity ? Is Schroe- 
der right in supposing that the differential essence of religion 


is reducible only to a sex ecstasy ? We think that none 
of these explanations would meet the mystic's sexual por- 
trayal of his religious realisation. We have to understand 
it merely in a sense of an analogy. The only earthly analogy 
that could be given according to these mystics for the rela- 
tionship between the soul and God is the relationship between 
wife and husband: "Tadyatha priyaya striya samparishvakto 
na bahyam kimchana veda nantaram, evamevayam purushah 
prajnenatmana samparishvakto na bahyam kimchana veda 
nantaram" (Brihadaranyaka, IV. 3. 21). This is the only 
possible explanation, if any could be found. Otherwise, 
there does not seem to be any justification for the mystic's 
portrayal of the sexual element in mystical life. The clever 
psychologist James was absolutely right when he said in his 
" Varieties of Religious Experience " that religious conscious- 
ness and sexual consciousness are as poles apart : " Every- 
thing about the two things differs : objects, moods, faculties, 
and acts; and any general assimilation is simply impossible. 
In this sense, we may say that the religious life depends just 
as much upon the spleen, the pancreas, and the kidneys, as 
on the sexual apparatus." It is impossible to add a hue to 
the description given by James of the relationship between 
religious consciousness and sexual consciousness. 

14. We cannot close this Preface, however, without touch- 
ing upon a point of vital importance, 

The Criterion of the namely, that of the criterion of the 

Reality of Mystical reality of mystical experience. Even 
Experience: ,, ', . , ,, 

* ... . . though we cannot enter into all the 

(*) The element of . . . 

Universality philosophic implications of this crite- 

rion, we can at least see in certain res- 
pects how this criterion would work. In the first place, as the 
cumulative experience of the mystics of the East and the West 
would prove, there is a certain amount of universality in their 
mystical experience. They have the same teaching about the 
Name of Rod, the fire of Devotion, the nature of Self-realisa- 
tion and so forth, and it is due only to an over-weening 


superciliousness that certain people would regard the mystics 
of one country or religion as different from, or superior to, 
the mystics of other lands or faiths. Tf all men are equal 
before God, and if men have got the same "deiform faculty" 
which enables them to " see God face to face ", then there 
is no meaning in saying that there is a difference between 
the quality of the God-realisation of some, as apart from 
the quality of the God-realisation of others. It is true that 
there may be physical, mental, and temperamental differences, 
but there is no difference in the quality of their mystical or 
intuitive realisation. It is this element of universality, which, 
as Kant contends, would confer upon mystical experience 
objectivity, necessity, or validity. Sir Henry Jones contends 
in " A Faith that Enquires " that if religion claims final 
worth and ultimate truth, then its criterion also must be 
equally powerful (p. 90). We suppose that the objectivity 
and necessity conferred by mystical experience is of a higher 
order than that of any other kind of human experience just 
because it is " deiform ". It is this element of divinity in 
it that makes it so supremely compelling and valid. 

There is another way of approach to the problem of the 

criterion of mystical experience. We 
(") The Intellectual , . , , \ . ,, . ,. 

. nave pointed out in the opening section 

of this Preface that mystical life involves 
a full exercise of the intellect, feeling, and will, and that, in 
addition, it brings into operation that faculty called Intuition 
by which one gets directly to the apprehension of Reality. 
We may say that that kind of mystical experience must be 
invalid which does not tend to an intellectual clarification of 
thought. A mon whose brain is confused, a man who is labour- 
ing under delusions, a man who is likely to suffer from 
hallucinations, a man who is neurally pathological, can never 
hope to attain to real mystical experience. The imagination 
of the mystic must be powerful. He must have a penetrat- 
ing, accurate, and unfaltering intellect. It is not without 
reason that great mystics like SankaracMrya, or Yajnavalkya, 


or Spinoza, or Plotinus, or Augustine, or St. Paul, or 
Jfianesvara produced the great intellectual works that have 
lived after them. We must say about these works that they 
enjoy a certain amount of immortality, and they can never 
perish so long as the world prizes their inner mystic fibre. 
Accurate intellectual thought, among other things, which 
will compel philosophical admiration is surely a mark of 
real mystical experience. It is true, as pointed out above, 
that there are temperamental differences between mystics, 
as there are temperamental differences between ordinary men. 
Not all mystics need be philosophers ; not all mystics need lead 
a life of emotion ; not all mystics need be activists ; but where- 
ever true Mysticism is, one of these faculties must predomi- 
nate ; and unless we see in a mystic a full-fledged exercise of 
at least one of these faculties, we may not say that he is en- 
titled to the name of a Mystic at all. Hence intellectual power 
and absolute clarity of thought seem to be the first criterion 
of mystical experience. 

It is occasionally contended by certain writers, as has 

been pointed out above, that Mysti- 

(iii) The Emotional i , ,-. . ' -, .*, 

v ' A cism has got nothing to do with a 

life of emotions. If by a life of emo- 
tions these people mean a sombre and melancholy, or on 
the other hand, a buoyant and boisterous sentimentalism, 
we entirely agree with what these people say. But if they 
deny to a mystic the possession or use of emotions in their 
refined, pure, and "deiform" state, we entirely disagree with 
these writers. Tn fact, if we take the trouble of reading 
the account of emotions given by Tukarama, and Ekanatha 
in the pages that follow, we may be sure that the life of emo- 
tions is a sine qua non of mystical experience. In fact, no 
mystical experience is possible unless we have a plenitude of 
finer emotions, all turned to the experience of God. A mys- 
tical life so far from being unemotional, is, we must say, 
supremely emotional ; only the emotions ought to be exercised 
and kept under control by intellect. Otherwise, as we have 

iPREt'ACE (27) 

pointed out above, a mystic would tend either to be an extreme 
L' Allegro, or ou the other hand, an extreme Tl Penseroso. 
The very fine contribution which Ekanatha has made to the 
psychology of emotions is worthy of consideration at the hands 
of every student of Mysticism. When Spinoza said that emo- 
tions must be transcended in an intellectual love of God, he 
said most accurately what is needed in a true life, of Mysticism. 
Another criterion of the reality of mystical experience 
is its capacity for the definite moral 
" 1 development of the individual and the 
society. It has been urged by critics 
of Mysticism that it tends on the one hand to a life of 
a-moralism, and on the other, to a life of passivism. Dean 
Inge has said that those schools of Philosophy which are 
most in sympathy with Mysticism have been, on the whole, 
ethically weak ; and he instances as a case in point w r hat he 
calls Oriental Pantheism, as if it stands in a category 
apart, which regards all things as equally divine, and obli- 
terates the distinction between right and wroug (Studies of 
English Mystics, p. 31). It is to be remembered that he also 
points out that there are two dangers to which such a mysti- 
cism is liable Antinomiamsm and Quietism. Antinomia- 
nism teaches that he who is led by the spirit can do no wrong, 
and that the sins of the body cannot stain the soul ; 
while Quietism teaclies a life of contentment with anything 
whatsoever by sitting with folded arms (Ibid., pp. 30-31 ). Now, 
it is to be remembered that this criticism of Mysticism comes 
from Dean Inge who is more of a mystic than anything else ; 
and a Mystic saying that Mysticism starves the moral sense is 
only attempting to throw stones at a glass-house in which he is 
himself living. On the other hand, we find that a true life of 
Mysticism teaches a full-fledged morality in the individual, and 
a life of absolute good to the society. If we just see the very 
clever and accurate analysis of the different virtues which 
JnaneSvara makes in his JnaueSvari (M.M., pp. 71-107), we 
can scarcely find in the world's ethical literature anything 

(28) ffeEPACE 

which would come up to it in point of excellence of analysis, 
boldness of thought, or accuracy of portrayal. A Mystic 
like Jnanesvara who insists on these virtues can scarcely be 
regarded as teaching the " effacement of all distinctions 
between right and wrong ". If we go to Plotinus, we find 
the same perfection of moral virtues in mystical life insisted 
on. " The vision," he tells us, " is not to be regarded as un- 
fruitful. In this state the perfect soul begets like God 
Himself beautiful thoughts and beautiful virtues " (Enneads, 
6. 9. 9). St. Teresa also speaks of the peace, calm, and good 
fruits in the soul by contemplation on God, and particularly 
of three graces : " The first is a perception of the greatness 
of God, which becomes clearer to us as we witness more of 
it. Secondly, we gain self-knowledge and humility as we see 
how creatures so base as ourselves in comparison with the 
Creator of such wonders, have dared to offend Him in the 
past, or venture to gaze on Him now. The third grace is a 
contempt of all earthly things unless they are consecrated to 
the service of so great a God " (The Interior Castle, 6. 5. 12). 
St. John of the Cross teaches that "in a truly mystical life, 
a knowledge of God and His attributes overflows into the 
understanding from the contact with Him and the soul is 
admitted to a knowledge of the wisdom, graces, gifts and 
powers of God, whereby it is made so beautiful and rich " 
(Cant. 14. 16. 24. 2). Ramadasa also tells us the same story 
when he speaks of the moral results produced in a mystic 
by contemplation on God (M. M., pp. 394-395). Then, again, 
so far as the utility of the mystic to the Society is con- 
cerned, we may almost regard it as a truism of Mysticism that 
a Mystic who is not of supreme service to the Society is 
not a Mystic at all. It is true, that here again there are tem- 
peramental differences among mystics. One mystic may choose 
more or less to be of a quietistic, and another more or less 
of an activistic type. But the fact remains that in either 
case he is of supreme value to mankind by calling their atten- 
tion from moment to moment to the perception and greatness 


of God. Thus Dean Inge's denial of the title of a Mystic to 
Thomas a Kempis, because the latter teaches Quietism, can 
hardly be justified. There have been mystics who, like Aris- 
totle's God, have moved the world by their divine contempla- 
tion. They might be called what a psychologist calls them 
men of a world-shaking type. St. Ignatius is a case in point, 
and James speaks of him assuredly as " one of the most 
powerfully practical human engines that ever lived. Where, 
in literature," he asks, "is there a more evidently veracious 
account, than in St. Teresa, of the formation of a new cen- 
tre of spiritual energy ?" (Varieties of Religious Experience, 
pp. 413, 414). Plotinus also tells us that " Those who are in- 
spired, those who are possessed, know this much, that within 
them they have something greater than themselves, even if 
they do not know what. From what they feel, from what they 
speak, they have some conception of that which moves them 
as of something higher than themselves " (Enneads, 5. 3. 14). 
Rufus Jones narrates how mystics have their consciousness 
invaded by the inrush of a larger life : " Sometimes they 
have seemed to push a door into a larger range of being with 
vastly heightened energy. Their experience has been always 
one of joy and rapture. In fact, it is probably the highest 
joy a mortal ever feels. Energy to live by actually does come 
to them from somewhere. The Universe backs the experi- 
ence " (Studies in Mystical Religion, p. xxx). Of the mystics 
treated of in this volume, as we may have ample opportu- 
nities to see later on, Ramadasaisthetype of an activistic saint, 
illustrating the great power for the good of the world which 
comes in a mystic by a continuous contemplation on God. 
Filially, the surest criterion of Mysticism is the validity 

of the experience as enjoyed by the 
(f>) The Intuitional ,. , . r K ^ . ' J ; ,, J . 

* . mystic himself. Before that, there is no 

appeal ; for it, there is no criterion. If 
he appears to be true to himself, if his whole life is an 
embodiment of absolute right and truth, if he does not 
deviate an inch from the path of goodness and virtue, 


if his whole life is dedicated to the contemplation of God and 
the service of Humanity, if he regards his own mystical ad- 
vancement as a step towards the realisation of either of these 
ends, then we do not think that a mystic's search after God 
and its validity need be much called into question. It is 
this personal aspect of a mystic's spiritual realisation which 
stamps it with a peculiar halo and worth. The universality, 
the intellectualism, the emotionalism, arid the moral fervour 
which we have hitherto talked of are but subservient to this 
greatest criterion, namely, a first-hand, intimate, intuitive 
apprehension of God. We need not collect many utterances 
of the mystics to justify this supreme duty of a mystic to 
himself. Here in the sensuous state, he sees but dimly ; 
yonder, in ecstatic contemplation, the vision is clear. The 
criterion which Plotinus affords to us in this connection is of 
supreme importance : 

. . xulrot &fW$pQ* oparai free 8t tcc.9apw$ oparai. 

T$ &pim jpcurcy fftti SWCL/LUP *fr ri .UaXXov fty teal Ma 

"And yet," says Plotinus. " we here see but dimly, yonder 
the vision is clear. For it gives to the seer the faculty of 
seeing, and the power for the higher life, the power by 
living more intensely to see better, and to become what he 
sees " (Enrieads, 6. 6. 18). A mystic's final judge is thus ulti- 
mately his own Self ! 


15. How the present scheme of the History of Indian 
Philosophy by the Joint Authors origin- 

ated ' and h W ' li Came to be issued 
" Under the Patronage of University of 

Bombay ", hag been fully set forth in our Preface to the 


Second Volume of this History (the first to see the light of 
the day), which was issued in December, 1927. With the 
approval of the Syndicate of the University of Bombay, 
to whom the typed press copy of this volume was sub- 
mitted nearly eight years ago, the seventh volume in the 
original scheme entitled Indian Mysticism was divided into 
two Parts : the one dealing with Mysticism in Maharashtra, 
and the other with Mysticism outside Maharashtra, as it 
was found impossible to compress the really vast material 
available in one volume of about 500 pages. The press 
copy as originally submitted to the University has been 
touched here and there, but in substance it remains un- 
changed. The Preface of course has been added since, as 
also the Bibliographical Note, and the Index. As in the case 
of the Creative Period (History of Indian Philosophy, 
Vol. II), so in the case of the present volume, although the 
authors hold themselves jointly responsible for the whole 
volume, it is due to both of them to state that practically 
in this volume all the chapters have been contributed by Prof. 
Ranade, as the next volume on the Mahabharata or the 
Vedanta (Vol. Ill or Vol. VI of the present History), which- 
ever is prepared first, will be the work entirely of Dr. Bel- 
valkar. After the publication of that volume, our engagement 
with the University of Bombay for three volumes in the present 
History will have been fulfilled, and then it would rest 
entirely with the University to see if they could continue their 
patronage to the succeeding volumes of this History, but on 
conditions conceived in quite a different fashion than at 
present. As events have, proved, in fulfilling their engagement 
with the University of Bombay, the Authors have had to 
submit not only to great physical and mental exertions, but 
to extraordinary pecuniary difficulties, but thank God, by His 
grace they have been able to publish two volumes hitherto, 
and it is hoped that the third volume also would be brought 
out at a no very distant date. 


16. We have jiow to express our heartfelt obligations to 

all those who have helped us in the 

Thanks. present concern. We have first to thank 

very heartily Prof . K. V. Gajendragadkar, 

M.A., of the Arts College, Nasik, who, as a Research Assistant 
some years ago under Prof. Ranade, gave continuous and 
invaluable assistance in the present work. The contribution 
on the Amritanubhava of Jnanesvara which appears in the 
present volume (Chapter IV) is due mainly to him. Prof. 
Gajendragadkar also helped very much in preparing the Index 
for the press, in collaboration with his colleagiie Prof. Jog 
of the Arts College, Nasik, and we are much obliged to 
these gentlemen for the help they have so readily given. We 
are also much indebted to Prof. S. V. Dandekar of the Sir 
Parashurambhau College, Poona, for help in a contribution on 
the Bhagawata of Ekanatha which appears in the present volume 
(Chapter XII). Prof. Ranade had certainly a claim on him, 
as he was once his student at the Fergusson College, but it 
is as a friend that in the present case he has worked on a 
Chapter for which the authors are much obliged to him. 
Mr. S. K. Dharmadhikari gave great help as a Shorthand Typist 
throughout the progress of the volume, but the completion 
of the work was reserved for another stenographer who 
succeeded him, namely, Mr. H. K. Dharmadhikari of the Com- 
merce Department of the Allahabad University. We thank 
both these gentlemen for their labours. Mr. Jagannath 
Raghunath Lele of Nimbal was of continuous and immense 
assistance in reading out the Sources, on which is based the 
present volume of Maharashtra Mysticism. These Sources 
were independently published by Rao Saheb V. S. Damle, 
Retired Mamlatdar, Thalakvadi, Belgaum, in four volumes, 
entitled Jnanesvara Vachanamrita, Santa Vachanamrita, 
Tukarama Vachanamrita, and Ramadasa Vachanamrita for 
the Academy of Philosophy and Religion, Poona, a few 
years ago. The " Index of Sources " in the present volume 
ou Maharashtra Mysticism refers to these Source-Books 


which have been published by Rao Saheb V. S; Damle. 
Jt will be found by reference to the present work that it is 
almost impossible to understand its full tenor without refer- 
ence to these Source-Books at every stage. Hence the great 
value of these Source -Books tot all those who wish to under- 
stand the mystical argument of this book, enabling them at 
the same time to check the presentation by ready reference 
to the original Sources. As regards publication arrange- 
ments for this work, we have first to thank very heartily our 
friend Mr, B. R. Patwardhan, M.A., LL.B., Pleader, Dharwar, 
who offered a few years ago to advance sufficient money to 
the Press to enable them to take up the work in hand at once. 
Even here, the completion of the scheme was reserved for 
another friend of ours, Mr. S. A. Apte, B.A., LL.B., Govern- 
ment Pleader, Jamkhandi, without whose spiritual solicitude 
to volunteer enough money to meet the burden of the Volume 
in every way, the present work would scarcely have seen the 
light of the day in its present form. Mr. A. V. Patwardhan, B. A., 
Manager, Aryabhushan Press, Poona, who has had ties of various 
relationship with all of us, and who is publishing the present 
volume on behalf of Mr. S. A. Apte, is extending to it his foster- 
ing care, which concerns not merely its formal publication, 
but also the administration of its sales with a view to defray 
out of the sale proceeds the liabilities involved. We have also 
particularly to mention the help we have received from Prof. 
N. G. Damle, M.A., of the Pergusson College, Poona, Mr. P, K. 
Gode, M.A., Secretary, Academy of Philosophy and Religion, 
Poona, Mr. R. D, Wadekar, M.A., Lecturer in the Bhandarkar 
Institute, Poona, as well as Mr. S. V. Mhaskar, B.A., formerly 
State Librarian, Jamkhandi, who have much obliged us by 
their constant solicitude and unremitting exertions to enable 
the Volume to see the light of the day as early as was possible. 
Mr. G. G. Karkhanis, B.A., has also helped in the 
matter of procuring some hitherto unpublished material on 
Ramadasa, as well as by his constant care concerning the 
Sources of the JnaneSvari, We are also much obliged to 


the Rev. John MacKenzie, M.A., Vice-Chancellor of the Uni- 
versity of Bombay, for having looked at the Preface, and made 
some useful suggestions. We have to thank Shrimant Chief- 
Saheb of Miraj for having supplied to us the Abhangas of 
Samvata Mali, who lived some centuries ago at Aranagaon, 
which is under his jurisdiction. As regards the Bibliographical 
Note, we must express our obligations heartily to the Rev. 
Dean Inge, Miss Underbill, and Mr. Fleming, to whose 
works on Mysticism we are much indebted. It is to be 
hoped that the present volume would supply the world 
with a new material for a Philosophy of Mysticism and from 
a hitherto untrodden territory, namely, that of the religious 
experience of certain typical representatives of Indian Mysti- 
cism. We have also to thank very heartily the University 
of Bombay for having patiently waited for such a long time 
for the present volume to see the light of the day. As we 
have to thank the Bombay University, so we have also to 
thank the Allahabad University for facilities provided to at 
least one of the Joint Authors for work connected with this 
volume. We have to express our gratefulness to Dr. Ganga- 
nath Jha, LL.D., Vice-Chancellor of the University of Allahabad, 
for having done us the honour of extracting a few passages 
of this book in illustration of his argument in his Kamala 
Lectures delivered before the University of Calcutta in 1929. 
We are much beholden to our friend Mr. V. Subrahmaiiya Iyer, 
B. A., 'Formerly Registrar, University of Mysore, for the very 
great care which he bestowed in going through the Chapter 
on the Jnanesvari some years ago, and for having seen the 
possibility of its teachings being compared with those of a great 
Vedantic teacher like Sharilairacharya. Finally, we have to 
express our deepest obligations to the Bangalore Press for 
having waited patiently for such a long period, and for having 
carried on the work through thick and thin, and enabled the 
Authors and Publishers to see that as few imperfections 
as possible remain in the printed work. It is scarcely neces- 
sary for the authors to say in conclusion that a work like this 


represents a great Sacrifice in which each man brings to the 
consummation of the Ideal what his individual powers enable 
him to oiler ; or else, where each man sings, like the Leibnitzian 
monad, his own tune, and yet the whole becomes a harmony 
wonderful, contributing to the glory of God and the relief 
of roan's estate. 

Indian Mysticism : Mysticism in Maharashtra. 

CHAPTER I. Introduction : The Development of Indian Mysticism up 

to the Age of Jnanesvara. 

1. The Mysticism of the Upanishads and the Mysticism of 
the Middle Age (p. 1) ; 2. The Mysticism of the Bhagavadgita and 
the Mysticism of the Middle Age (p. 2) ; 3. The Personality of 
Krishna (p. 3) ; 4. Vishnu Occultism : the Pancharatra (p. 4) ; 
5. Siva Occultism : Tantrism (p. 5) ; 6. The Bhagavata as a 
Storehouse of Ancient Mysticism (p. 7) ; 7. The True Nature of 
the Eolation of the Gopis to Krishna (p. 10) ; 8. The Sanclilya 
Sutra and the Narada Sutra (p. 12) ; 9. The Teachings of the 
Narada Bhakti-Sutra (p. 12) ; 10. The Philosophic Schools and 
their Influence on Hindi, Bengali, and Gujerathi Mysticism (p. 15) ; 
11. Christian Influence on the Bhakti Doctrine (p. 16) ; 12. Tamil 
Mysticism (p. 17) ; 13. Canarese Mysticism (p. 18) ; 14. Maratha 
Mysticism (p. 19). 



CHAFIER II. Jnanadeva : Biographical Introduction. 

1. The Condition of Maharashtra in Jnanadeva's time (p. 25) ; 
2. Mukundaraja (p. 25) ; 3, The Paramamrita of Mukundaraja 
(p. 26); 4. King Ramadevarao of Devagiri (p. 27); 5. The 
Mahanubhavas (p. 27) ; 6. The Nathas (p. 29) ; 7. The Ances- 
tors of Jnanadeva (p. 30) ; 8. The Story of Vitthalpant (p. 30) ; 
9. Jnanesvara Chronology (p. 31) ; 10. The Life-Story of Jnana- 
deva (p. 33) ; 11. The Works of Jnanadeva (p. 35) ; 12. The 
Style of the Jnanesvari (p. 36) ; 13. The History of the Text of the 
Jnanesvarl (p. 37) ; 14. The Problem of two Jnanadevas (p. 38) ; 
15. The Linguistic and Ideological Similarity of the Jnanesvarl 
and the Abharigas (p. 39); 16. Vitthala-Bhakti in the Jnanes- 
varl (p. 40) ; 17. The Samadhi at Apegaon and the Samadhi at 
Ajandl (p. 43) ; 18. The Passing away of the Brothers and Sister 
of Jnanadeva (p. 44) ; 19. The Personality of Changadeva 
(p. 45). 

CHAPTER III. The Jnanesvarl. 

1. Place and Time of the Composition of the Jnanesvarl (p. 47). 
2. The Spiritual Lineage of JfianeSvara (p. 47) ; 3. JfianeSvara's 
Respect for his Guru (p. 48) ; 4. The Grace of the Guru is com- 
petent to all things (p. 49) ; 5. The Power of the Guru is inde- 
scribable (p. 49) ; 6. Invocations to the Guru (p. 49) ; 7. Ni- 
vrittinatha, identified with the Sun of Reality (p. SO) ; 8. The 
Humility of Jriane^vara (p. 51). 


(I) Metaphysics. 9. The Prakrit! and the Purusha (p. 52) ; 

10. The Mutable, the Immutable, and the Transcendent (p. 54) ; 

11. Body and Soul (p. 55) ; 12. Doctrine of Transmigration (p. 56) ; 
13. Personal and Impersonal Immortality : Re-incarnation an 
Illusion (p. 57) ; 14. Description of the Asvattha Tree (p. 59) ; 
15. How the Root germinates (p. 59) ; 16. The ASvattha, the 
Type of Unreality (p. 60) ; 17. The Knowledge of Unreality is 
the Cause of its Destruction (p. 60) ; 18. The Origin, the Being, 
and the End of the Tree of Existence (p. 61) ; 19. A Devout 
Meditation on God enables one to cross the Flood of Maya (p. 61) ; 
20. God, the Central Reality (p. 62) ; 21. Uselessness of Images 
and Anthropomorphism (p. 63) ; 22. The Infinite Awe in Crea- 
tion for God (p. 64) ; 23. Vision of Identity (p. 64) ; 24. God 
cannot be known (p. 65) ; 25. Arjuna's Longing after the Vision 
of the Universal Atman (p. 66) ; 26. Vi&variipa not seen by Phy- 
sical Vision, but by Intuitive Vision (p. 67) ; 27. Condemnation 
of the Fear of Arjuna (p. 68) ; 28. Those who follow the Impersonal, 
themselves reach the Person (p. 69) ; 29. Characterization of the 
Absolute (p. 69) ; 30. The Sun of Absolute Reality (p. 70). 

(II) Ethics.3I. The Seductive Power of the Senses (p. 71) ; 
32. Catalogue of Virtues : Humility (p. 71) ; 33. Unpretentious- 
ness (p. 72) ; 34. Harmlcssness (p. 73) ; 35. Sufferance and 
Straightforwardness (p. 74) ; 36. Devotion to Guru (p. 75) ; 
37. Purity (p. 77) ; 38. Steadfastness (p. 78) ; 39. Self-Control 
(p. 78) ; 40. Dispassion (p. 79) ; 41. Un-Egoism (p. 79) ; 42. 
Pessimism (p. 80) ; 43. Unattachment, and Love of Solitude 
(p. 81) ; 44. God-Devotion (p. 81) ; 45. Catalogue of Vices (p. 82) ; 
46. Divine Heritage I. (p. 86) ; 47. Divine Heritage II. (p. 88) ; 
48. Divine Heritage III. (p. 90) ; 49. Demoniac Heritage 
(p. 91) ; 50. Other Miscellaneous Virtues (p. 93) ; 51. The Nature 
of Sacrifice (p. 94) ; 52. Penance in which Sattva predominates 
(p. 95) ; 53. Penance in which Rajas predominates (p. 96) ; 54. 
Penance in which Tamas predominates (p. 97) ; 55. Resigna- 
tion to God (p. 97) ; 56. The Ideal of the Karma- Yogin (p. 98) ; 
57. From Action to Actionlessness (p. 99) ; 58. Works and 
Realization (p. 100) ; 59. Performance of Duty, a Divine Ordinance 
(p. 101) ; 60. Actions should be done without Attachment (p. 101) ; 
61. Renunciation of the Fruits of Action (p. 102); 62. The 
Offering of Actions to God (p. 102) ; 63. The Three-fold Division 
of the Psychological Temperaments (p. 103) ; 64. Overthrow 
of the Thraldom of the Qualities (p. 105) ; 65. Uprooting of the 
Tree of Unreality (p. 106) ; 66. Destruction of the Moral Vices 
(p. 106). 

(HI) Mysticism.- 67. The Pathway to God (p. 107) ; 68. The 
Four Avenues to the Pathway (p. 108) ; 69. The Search of God 
through all Miseries (p. 108) ; 70. The Attainment of God through 
any Intense Emotion (p. 109) ; 71. Hope for the Sinner (p. 110) ; 
72. The Non-Recognition of Castes in Devotion to God (p. ] 10) ; 


73. Bhakti, ^s the only Means for the Attainment of God (p. Ill) ; 

74. The Sensual Life* and the Spiritual Life (p. 112); 75. The 
Descent of Grace (p. 113) ; 76. One meets the Guru in the Ful- 
ness of Time (p. 113) ; 77. The Celebration of God's Name (p. 114) ; 

78. The Importance of Practice in Spiritual Life (p. 115) ; 

79. Description of Place for Contemplation (p. 116) ; 80. The 
Serpent and the Sound (p. 116) ; 81. The Difficulties of the Life 
of Yoga (p. 117) ; 82. Meditation on God as everywhere (p. 117) ; 
83. The Atman as Light (p. 118) ; 84. The Atman seen withiri 
and without (p. 119) ; 85. The llealization of the Self (p. 119) ; 
86. The Acme of Happiness (p. 120) ; 87. The Bodily Effects of 
God-realization (p. 121) ; 88. The Mental Effects of God-realiza- 
tion (p. 122) ; 89. The Moral Effects of God-realization (p. 122) ; 
90. Metaphorical description of a man who has realized God 
(p. 123) ; 91. The crest-jewel of those who know (p. 124) ; 92. De- 
scription of Mystic Emotions (p. 125) ; 93. Competition of the Emo- 
tions of Fear and Joy (p. 126) ; 94. Rare is the man who reaches 
the End (p. 126) ; 95. Perfection can be attained only gradually 
(p. 127) ; 96. Asymptotic approximation to God (p. 127) ; 97. 
God, the sole engrossing object of the Saint (p. 128) ; 98. The 
Communion of Saints (p. 129) ; 99. The Devotee is the Beloved : 
God is the Lover (p. 129) ; 100. The office of God for the welfare 
of the Saint (p. 130) ; 101. God accepts from his Devotee any 
offering, howsoever humble (p. 131) ; 102. The Devotee, the 
object of God's adoration (p. 132) ; 103. God leads the Devotee 
onwards in the Spiritual Path (p. 132) ; 104. The Devotee, the 
recipient of particular Grace from God at the time of Death 
(p. 133) ; 105. How one should die in God (p. 133) ; 106. The Union 
of Saint and God (p. 134) ; 107. Liberation before Death (p. 134) ; 

108. The Practical Way for the attainment of Unitive Life (p. 135) ; 

109. Description of a Unitive Devotee (p. 136) ; 110. The ecstatic 
and post-ecstatic states (p. 136) ; 111. A tale of unison brings on 
unison (p. 137) ; 112. The Epilogue of the Jnanesvari (p. 138). 

CHAPTER IV. The Amritanubhava. 

1. Jiianadeva's esteem of his work (p. 140) ; 2. The Principal 
Aim of the Work (p. 141) ; 3. The Argument of the Work (p. 141) ; 
4. Influence of Samkhya and Vedanta on the thought of Jfianadeva 
(p. 142) ; 5. The Prakriti and the Purusha (p. 143) ; 6. The 
essential unity of Prakriti and Purusha in Brahman (p. 144) ; 
7. Description of Brahman or Atman (p. 145) ; 8. Brahman is 
beyond the three attributes Existence, Knowledge and Bliss 
(p. 147) ; 9. The existence of Brahman proved against the Nihi- 
lists (p. 148) ; 10. Brahman is indescribable (p. 148) ; 11. Effi- 
cacy of the Word (p. 149) ; 12. The inefficacy of the Word to re- 
veal the Absolute nature of the Atman (p. 150) ; 13. Inability 
of the Word to destroy Ignorance, which does not exist (p. 151) ; 
14. Nature and Relation of Avidya and Vidya (p. 152) ; 15. Know- 
ledge that is relative to Ignorance is itself destroyed in Brahman 


(p. 153) ; 16. Jnanadeva's arguments against the Ajnanavadins 
(p. 154) ; 17. A logical discussion of the nature of Ignorance 
(p. 156) ; 18. The Sphurtivada (p. 158) ; 19. Significance of the 
Spiritual Teacher in the mystic life (p. 161) ; 20. Description of 
One who has realized the Self (p. 163) ; 21. Nature of Supreme 
Devotion (p. 163) ; 22. Personal Experience of JMnadeva 
(p. 164). 

CHAPTER V. The Abhangas of Nivfitti, Jnanadeva, Sopana, Muk- 
tabai, and Changadeva. 

1. The Abhanga and the Religious Lyric (p. 166); 2. The 
teaching of Nivrittinatha (p. 166) ; 3. The teaching of Jnana- 
deva (p. 167) ; 4. The Pain of God (p. 168) ; 5. Mystic Progress 
by the grace of Nivritti (p. 169) ; 6. Colour experience (p. 170) ; 
7. Form experience (p. 171) ; 8. Light experience (p. 172) ; 9. 
Sound experience (p. 172) ; 10. God can be attained in all 
states of consciousness (p. 173) ; 11. Experience of Bliss (p. 173) ; 
12. The final experience of the Self (p. 174) ; 13. The teachings 
of Sopana, Muktabai, and Changadeva (p. 176). 

CHAPTER VI. General Review of the Period. 



CHAPTER VII. Biographical Introduction. 

1. A short History of Vitthala Sampradaya (p. 183) ; 2. Jna- 
nadeva and Namadeva as Contemporaries (p. 184) ; 3. A sketch 
of Namadeva's life (p. 185) ; 4. Namadeva and Vishnudasanama 
(p. 187) ; 5. Gora, the Potter (p. 188) ; 6. Visoba' Khechara 
(p. 189) ; 7. Samvata, the Gardener (p. 189) ; 8. Narahari, the 
Goldsmith (p. 189) ; 9. Chokha, the Untouchable (p. 189) *, 10. 
Janabai, the Maid (p. 190) ; 11. Sena, the Barber (p. 190) ; 

12. Kanhopatra, the Dancing Girl (p. 190). 

CHAPTER VIII. The Abhangas of Namadeva and Contemporary Saints. 

1. The Heart-rendings of Namadeva (p. 192) ; 2. Nama- 
deva's Insistence on the Name of God (p. 194) ; 3. Reflections on 
Social Matters (p. 195) ; 4. The Characteristics of Saints (p. 197) ; 
5. The Spiritual Experience of Namadeva (p. 199) ; 6. The Teach- 
ings of Gora (p. 201) ; 7. The Teachings of Visoba (p. 202) ; 8. The 
Teachings of Samvata (p. 202) ; 9. The Teachings of Narahari 
(p. 203); 10. The Teachings of Chokha (p. 204); 11. The 
Teachings of Janabai (p. 205) ; 12. The Teachings of Sena (p. 207) ; 

13. The 'Teachings of Kanhopatra (p. 208). 

CHAPTER IX. General Review. 



CHAPTER X. Biographical Introduction : Bhanudasa, Janardana 

Swami, and Ekanatha. 

1. Bhanudasa (p. 13) ; 2. Janardana Swami (p. 214) ; 3. 
Date of Ekariatha (p. 214) ; 4. Ekanatha's Life (p. 215) ; f>. 
Ekanatha's Works (p. 217). 

CHAPTER XI. The Abhaugas of Bhanudasa, Janardana Swami, and 

1. The Abhangas of Bhanudiisa (p. 218) ; 2. The Abhangas 
of Janardana Swami (p. 218) ; 3. Ekanatha on his Spiritual Teacher 
(p. 220) ; 4. Ekanatha's moral and spiritual instruction (p. 220) ; 
5. Bhakti and the Name of God (p. 222) ; 6. The Power of the 
Saints (p. 224) ; 7. The Mystical Experience of Ekanatha (p. 225). 

CHAPTER XII. Introduction : The Bhagavata of Ekanatha. 

1. The Place and Date of Composition (p. 228) ; 2. Family 
History (p. 228) ; 3. Spiritual Lineage (p. 229) ; 4. Ekanatha's 
Humility before Janardana (p. 230) ; 5. Ekanatha, an Enigma 
to his Neighbours (p. 231) ; 6. Bhagavata, a Great Field (p. 231). 

(I) Metaphysics. 7. Introductory (p. 232) ; 8. Brahman 
alone is Real : the World is Unreal (p. 233) ; 9. Four Proofs of the 
Unreality of the World (p. 233) ; 10. Avidya, Vidya, and Maya 
(p. 234) ; 11. As Maya is not, any question about it is useless 
(p. 235) ; 12. There is no room for the World (p. 235) ; 13. The 
Individual Self and the Universal Self (p. 236) ; 14. The Figure 
of two Birds (p. 237) ; 15. The essential unity of Jiva and Siva 
(p. 237) ; 16. The Atman is present in all states of body and 
mind (p. 238) ; 17. The Atman remains unmodified (p/ 238) ; 
18. Freedom is an illusion, because bondage is so (p. 238). 

(II) Ethics. 19. Introductory (p. 239) ; 20. Purity (p. 239) ; 
21. Penance (p. 239) ; 22. Retirement (p. 240) ; 23. Bearing 
with the defects of others (p. 240) ; 24. Bearing with the slander 
of others (p. 240) ; 25. One who is attached to woman and wealth 
is neglected by God (p. 241) ; 26. An aspirant must not touch 
even a wooden doll by his foot (p. 241) ; 27. A Sadhaka should 
keep himself away from the society of even Sattvic women (p. 242) ; 
28. Worse still is the company of the Uxorious (p. 242) ; 29. Re- 
pentance is the greatest atonement (p. 242) ; 30. Mind can be 
conquered by mind (p, 243) ; 31. For different virtues, different 
models (p. 243) ; 32. Vedic injunctions are calculated to wean a 
man from sense-objects : the cases of (1) marriage, and (2) sacrifice 
(p. 243) ; 33. Limitations of Vedic commands (p. 244) ; 34. Per 
sons qualified for knowledge, action, and devotion (p. 244) ; 35. The 
value of duly discharging one's duty (p. 245) ; 36. The meaning 
of Bhakti (p. 246) ; 37. The four kinds of Bhaktas (p. 246) ; 


38. Saguna easier of approach than Nirguna (p. 247) ; 39. The Path 
of Knowledge (p. 247). 

(Ill) Mysticism. 40. Four means of God-realisation (p. 248) ; 
41. One must make haste to realise God (p. 248) ; 42. Esoteric 
Bhakti (p. 249) ; 43. The True Bhagavata Dharma (p. 250) ; 
44. Three grades of the Bhagavatas (p. 250) ; 45. The Bliss of the 
repetition of God's Name (p. 251) ; 46. Bhakti, a Royal Road 
(p. 251) ; 47. Intellect vs. Love (p. 251) ; 48. The help of the 
Guru is invaluable (p. 252) ; 49. If Divine Knowledge is communi- 
cated by the Guru, why worship God ? (p. 253) ; 50. God's 
meditation is a Panacea for all evils (p. 253) ; 51. Pitfalls in the 
path of meditation (p. 253^ ; 52. Experience of God-realisation 
(p. 254) ; 53. A True Samadhi (p. 254) ; 54. Description of a 
Soul that has realised God (p. 255) ; 55. Who can frighten a God's 
Servant ? (p. 255) ; 5(5. Such men are rare (p. 255). 

CHAPTER XIII. General Review. 

1. The Chief Characteristics of the Age of Ekanatha (p. 256). 



CHAPTER XIV. Biographical Introduction : Tukarama. 

1. The date of Tukarama's passing away (p. 261) ; 2. Theories 
about the date of Tukarama's birth (p. 261) ; 3. Incidents in the 
life of Tukarama (p. 263) ; 4. The making of Tukarama's Mind 
(p. 264) ; 5. Tukarama, Sivaji, and Ramadasa (p. 266) ; 6. The 
disciples of Tukarama (p. 268) ; 7. Editions of the Gathas of 
Tukarama (p. 268). 

CHAPTER XV. Tukarama's Mystical Career. 

(I) Historical Events iti his Life. 1. Introductory (p. 270) ; 
2. The occasion of Tukarama's Initiation (p. 270) ; 3. Tuka- 
rama's family lineage (p. 271) ; 4. Tukarama's family difficulties 
(p. 271) ; 5. Namadeva's command to Tukarama to compose 
poetry (p. 272) ; 6. Tukarama's great sorrow at his poems being 
thrown into the river (p. 273) ; 7. God's appearance and Tuka- 
rama's thanksgiving (p. 274) ; 8. Tukarama and RameSvar- 
bhatta (p. 275) ; 9. Ramesvarbhatta's description of his own 
conversion (p. 276) ; 10. A piece of Tukarama's autobiography 
(p. 276) ; 11. Some Miracles of Tukarama (p. 278) ; 12. Tukarama 
and JfianeSvara (p. 279) ; 13. The final scene of Tukarama's life 
(p. 280). (II) Tukarama as a Spiritual Aspirant. 14. Introductory 
(p. 281) ; 15. Tukarama bids good-bye to the manners of the world 
(p. 281) ; 16. Tukarama invites deliberate suffering (p. 282) ; 
17. The evanescence of the human body (p. 282) ; 18. Nobody 
can rescue one from the Clutches of Death except God Himself 
(p. 283) ; 19. The spiritual value of mortal existence (p. 284) ; 20. 


Tukarama binds God with Love (p. 284) ; 21. Tukarama 
pants for the company of the Saints (p. 285). (Ill) The Dark 
Night of Tukarama's Soul. 22. " I have not seen Thee even 
in my dreams " (p. 286) ; 23. Tukarama's desire to see the 
four-handed vision (p. 287); 24. Extreme restlessness of 
Tukarama's mind (p. 288) ; 25. Tukarama's constant warfare 
with the world and the mind (p. 289) ; 26. Tukarama's conscious- 
ness of his faults (p. 289) ; 27. Tukarama's description of his own 
vices (p. 290) ; 28. Tukarama's sin stands between himself and 
God (p. 291) ; 29. The reasons why probably God does not show 
Himself to Tukarama (p. 292) ; 30. The Humility of Tukarama 
(p. 292) ; 31. A request to the Saints to intercede (p. 293) ; 32. 
The asking of grace from God (p. 295) ; 33. The Centre of 
Indifference (p. 296) ; 34. The Everlasting Nay (p. 297). (IV) 
The Ecstatic and Post-ecstatic Experiences of Tukarama. 35. 
Tukarama's sudden vision of God (p. 299) ; 36. Reasons, 
according to Tuka, for his Realisation of God (p. 300) ; 37. A 
Confession of Blessedness (p. 301) ; 38. Tukarama is a photic 
as well as an audile mystic (p. 302) ; 39. Tukarama's other mys- 
tical experiences (p. 302) ; 40. Tukarama's Self- vision (p. 303) ; 
41. The effects of God-vision (p. 304) ; 42. The whole Universe 
becomes God (p. 305) ; 43. The signs of God's Presence in the 
Soul (p. 306) ; 44. Tukarama sees his death with his own eyes 
(p. 307) ; 45. Tukarama's great Spiritual Power (p. 308) ; 46. 
The words of Tukarama are the words of God (p. 309) ; 47. 
The mission of Tukarama (p. 310). 

CHAPTER XVI. Tukarama's Mystical Teaching. 

(V) Preparation for Mystic Life. 48. Introductory (p. 313) ; 
49. Rules for the life of the novice in Yoga (p. 313) ; 50. The 
worldly life of the spiritual aspirant (p. 314) ; 51. Moral precepts 
for the spiritual aspirant (p. 315). (VI) The Teacher and the 
Disciple. 52. The Teacher and the Disciple (p. 318). (VII) The 
Name. 53. The celebration of God's Name as the way to real- 
isation (p. 318) ; 54. Bodily and mental effects of meditation 
on the Name (p. 320) ; 55. The moral effects of meditation on the 
Name (p. 320). (VI11) The Kirtana. --5G. Kirtaria, as a way of re- 
alising God (p. 322) ; 57. Kirtana is a river which flows upwards 
towaids God (p. 322) ; 58. Requirements of a man who performs 
Kirtana (p 323) ; 59. Great is the power of Song (p. 323). 
(IX) Bhakti.fiQ. God cannot be reached except through Love 
(p. 324) ; 61. Images to describe the relation of Devotee to God 
(p. 325). (X) Castes.- -62. Caste not recognised in God-devotion 
(p. 326). (XI) The God of Pandharapiir.W. Description of the 
God of Pamjharapur (p. 327). (XII) Tukarama's Theism. 6*. 
The Personal superior to the Impersonal (p. 329) ; 65. He who 
Fays he has become God is a, fool (p. 330) ; 66. Service of God's 
feet superior tb an Advaitic identification with God (p. 330) ; 
67. Rebirth superior to Absolution (p. 331) ; 68. The Omnipotence 


of God (p. 331) ; 69. God favours people according to their deserts 
(p. 332). (XIII) God's Office for the Saints 70. God's Office for 
the Saints (p. 333). (XIV) Saints and their Character islics. 11. 
Real Saints are difficult to find (p. 336) ; 72. Characteristics of 
Saints (p. 337) ; 73. The Spiritual Power of the Saints (p. 340) ; 
74. The Saints' Influence upon others (p. 340). (XV) The 
Identity of Saints with God. 75. Establishment of Identity 
between God and the Saints (p. 341) ; 76. The Saint is even 
superior to God (p. 342). (XVI) Tukardma's Pantheistic 
Teaching. 77. A Pantheistic unification of the Personal and 
the Impersonal (p. 343). (XVII) The Doctrine of Mystical 
Experience. 78. Knowledge as an obstacle in the way of reach- 
ing God (p. 344) ; 70. The importance of Realisation (p. 345) ; 
80. The Grace of God (p. 346) ; 81. Psychology of Mysti- 
cism (p. 346); 82. The manifold vision* of God (p. 348); 
83. The life after God-attainment (p. 349). (XVIII) Spiritual 
Allegories. 84. The allegory of the Crop (p. 350) ; 85. The 
allegory of the Dish (p. 350) ; 86. The Fortune-teller (p. 351) ; 
87. The Supreme Power as Goddess (p. 351). (XIX) The Worldly 
Wisdom of Tukdrama. 88. Tukarama's worldly wisdom (p. 351). 

CHAPTER XVII. General Review. 

89. Three points about Tukarama's Mysticism (p. 355). 



CHAPTER XVIIT. Biographical Introduction. 

1. The Vakenisi Prakarana (p. 361) ; 2. A brief sketch of 
Ramadasa's life (p. 361) ; 3. the connection of Sivaji and Rama- 
dasa (p. 363) ; 4. The recent view about the connection (p. 364) ; 
5. The traditional view and its defence (p. 365) ; 6. The works 
of Ramadasa (p. 369) ; 7. The Contemporaries and Disciples of 
Ramadasa (p. 372). 

CHAPTER XIX. The Dasabodha. 

(I) Introductory. 1. Internal evidence for the date of the 
Dasabodha (p. 374) ; 2. Ramadasa's advice to Sivaji (p. 374) ; 
3. The miserable condition of the Brahmins in Ramadasa's time 
(p. 375) ; 4. The way to get rid of difficulties is to meditate on 
God (p. 376) ; 5. Ramadasa's description of his own faith (p. 376). 

(II) Metaphysics. 6. What knowledge is not (p. 376) ; 7. 
What knowledge is (p. 377) ; 8. Self-knowledge puts an end 
to all evil (p. 379) ; 9. Images, not God (p. 379) ; ]0. Four ascend- 
ing orders of the Godhead (p. 380) ; 11. The true God is the pure 
Self who persists even when the body falls (p. 381) ; 12. Knowledge 
of the true God can be communicated to us only by the Spiritual 
Teacher (p. 381) ; 13. God, identified with the Inner Self (p. 382) ; 


14. The superstitious and the rationalistic in Ramadasa (p. 382) ; 

15. The power of Untruth (p. 384); 16. Creation is unreality: 
God is the only reality (p. 384) ; 17. From the Cosmos to the 
Atman (p. 384) ; 18. The cosmological argument for the existence 
of God (p. 385) ; 19. The relation of Body and Soul and God 
(p. 385) ; 20. The Four Atmans as ultimately one (p. 386) ; 
21. The Highest Principle must be reached in actual experience 
(p. 386). 

(III) Mysticism. 22. Exhortation to Spiritual Life, based 
upon the evanescence of the world (p. 387) ; 23. In this mortal 
fair, the only profit is God (p. 387) ; 24. Spiritual value of the 
body (p. 388) ; 25. The extreme misery at the time of death 
(p. 389) ; 26. The Power of Death (p. 389) ; 27. Leave away 
everything, and follow God (p. 390) ; 28. God can be realised even 
in this life (p. 390) ; 29. The bound man (p. 391) ; 30. The 
necessity of a Guru (p. 391) ; 31. The Guru gives the key of the 
spiritual treasure (p. 392) ; 32. The Gum is greater than God 
(p. 392) ; 33. The ineffability of the greatness of the Guru (p. 393) ; 
34. The characteristics of a Guru (p. 393) ; 35. The characteris- 
tics of a Saint (p. 394) ; 36. The Saints confer the vision of God 
upon their disciples (p. 395) ; 37. Description of an Assembly 
of Saints (p. 396) ; 38. The Saint does not perform miracles ; God 
performs them for him (p. 396) ; 39. Power and Knowledge 
(p. 397) ; 40. Characteristics of a disciple (p. 397) ; 41. The causes 
that contribute to Liberation (p. 398) ; 42. When Sattva pre- 
dominates (p. 398) ; 43. The power of the Name (p. 399) ; 44. 
We should meditate on God, for God holds the keys of success 
in His hands (p. 400) ; 45. The power of Disinterested Love of 
God (p. 400) ; 46. Sravai.a as a means of spiritual development 
(p. 401) ; 47. Requirements of a true Klrtaiia (p. 401) ; 48. A 
devotional song is the only inspired song (p. 402) ; 49. The use of 
Imagination in Spiritual Life (p. 402) ; 50. False meditation and 
True meditation (p. 403); 51. The Aspirant (p. 404); 52. The 
Friend of God (p. 405) ; 53. Atmanivedana : Self-surrender 
(p. 406) ; 54. Four different kinds of Liberation (p. 407) ; 55. The 
Saint is already liberated during life (p. 407) ; 56. Sadhana ne- 
cessary at all stages (p. 408) ; 57. Sadhana unnecessary after 
God-realisation (p. 409) ; 58. The criterion of God-realisation 
(p. 409) ; 59. The Spiritual Wealth (p. 410) ; 60. Contradic- 
tions of Spiritual Experience (p. 410) ; 61. God rewards His 
devotee according to his deserts (p. 411) ; 62. Mystic reality as a 
solace of life (p. 411) ; 63. Reality beyond the influence of the 
Elements (p. 411) ; 64. Mystic description of Brahman (p. 412) ; 
65. Final characterisation of Brahman (p. 413). 

(IV) Activism. 66. The Ideal Man is a practical man 
(p. 413) ; 67. The spiritual man demands only the service of God 
from his disciples (p. 415) ; 68. The Ideal Man moves all, 
being himself hidden (p. 415) ; 69, The Ideal Man does not displease 


anybody (p. 415) ; 70. The Ideal Man pleases all (p. 416) ; 71. The 
Active Saint should retire, should set an example, should be 
courageous (p. 416) ; 72. The Master is found nowhere (p. 417) ; 
73. Activity should alternate with Meditation (p. 418) ; 74. Fur- 
ther characterisation of the Active Saint (p. 418) ; 75. The Active 
Saint must fill the world with God (p. 419) ; 76. Autobiography 
of the Active Saint (p. 419) ; 77. God, the Author of the Dasa- 
bodha (p. 421). 

CHAPTER XX. General Review and Conclusion. 

1. God-realisation and Activism (p. 422) ; 2. Ramadasa and 
Christianity (p. 422) ; 3. Bhakti and Rationalism (p. 424) ; 4. The 
Philosophy of Mysticism (p. 425), 


The account of the Mystics of India, which is given in the 
following pages, will be found to have been based on a study 
of their original Sources. These Sources have been already 
published in four independent Parts, as may be seen by refer- 
ence to pp. 32-33 of the Preface, and may be purchased from 
any of the Agencies mentioned on the back of the inner title 
page of this volume. The First of these Parts corresponds to 
the section on Intellectual Mysticism in the present volume. 
The Second Part corresponds to the sections on Democratic 
Mysticism, and Synthetic Mysticism. The Third Part 
corresponds to Personalistic Mysticism, and the Fourth to 
Activistic Mysticism in the present work. For those who can 
read the original, the Sources as published in the original, with 
headings and notes where necessary, may be found to be 
helpful. For those who cannot read the original, English 
headings corresponding to excerpts from the original are 
given at the end of these Source-Books, so as to facilitate 
reference and understanding. The Parts are priced at 
Rs. 1-8-0 each, but all the Parts together could be purchased 
at Rs. 5 in the lump. It were much to be desired that the 
presentation in the following pages is checked by reference to 
the originals wherever necessary. 

Indian Mysticism: Mysticism in Maharashtra. 


Introduction : The Development of Indian Mysticism 
up to the Age of Jnanesvara. 

1. In the previous volumes of our History of Indian 
Philosophy, we have traced the develop- 

The Mysticism of the ment of Indian thought from its 
Upanishads and the very dimmest beginnings in tl\e times 
Mysticism of the Middle of the, Rig-wda downwards through 
Age. t*ho great philosophical conflicts of 

Theism, Pantheism, and Qualified Pan- 
theism to the twilight of the Mysticism of the Middle Age, 
which being the practical side of philosophy can alone give 
satisfaction to those who care for philosophy as a way of life. 
A mystical vein of thought lias been present throughout 
the development of Indian philosophy from the age of the 
Upanishads downwards ; but it assumes an extraordinary im- 
portance wh^n we come to the second millennium of the 
Christian era which sees the birth of the practical spiritual 
philosophy taught by the Mystics of the various Provinces 
of India, ^^e have indeed seen that the culmination of Upa- 
nisliadic philosophy was mystical. But the mysticism of the 
Upanishads was different from the mysticism of the Middle 
Age, inasmuch as it was merely the tidal wave of the philoso- 
phic reflections of the ancient seers, while the other was the 
natural outcome of a heart full of piety and devotion, a con- 
sciousness of sin and misery, ami finally, a desire to assimilate 
oneself practically to the Divine. The Upanishadic mysticism 
was a naive philosophical mysticism : the mysticism of the 
Middle Age was a practical devotional mysticism. The Upa- 
nishadic mysticism was not incompatible with queer fancies, 
strange imaginings, and daring theories about the nature of 
Reality : the mysticism of the Middle Age was a mysticism 
which hated all philosophical explanations or philosophical 
imaginings as useless, w r hen contrasted with the practical 
appropriation of the Real. The Upanishadic mysticism was 
the mysticism of men who lived in cloisters far away 
from the bustle of humanity, and who, if they permitted any 
company at all, permitted only the company of their disciples. 
The mysticism of the Middle Age was a mysticism which 


engrossed itself in the practical upliftment of the human 
kind, based upon the sure foundation of one's own perfect 
spiritual development. The Upanishadic mystic did not 
come forward with the deliberate purpose of mixing with 
men in order to ameliorate their spiritual condition. The 
business of the mystic of the Middle Age consisted in mixing 
with the ordinary run of mankind, with sinners, with pariahs, 
with women, with people who cared not for the spiritual life, 
with people who had even mistaken notions about it, with, 
in fact, everybody who wanted, be it ever so little, to appro- 
priate the Real. In a word, we may say that as we pass from 
the Upanishadic mysticism to the mysticism of the Middle 
Age, we see the spiritual life brought from the hidden cloister 
to the market-place. 

2. Before, however, mysticism could be brought from 
being the private possession of the few 
The Mysticism of the to be the property of all, it must pass 
Bhagvadgita and the through the intermediate stage of the 
Mysticism of the Middle moral awakening of the people to a 
Age. sense of duty, which would not be in- 

compatible with philosophical imagi- 
nation on the one hand and democratisation of mystical ex- 
perience on the other,- -which task indeed was accomplished 
by the Bhagavadgita. As is well known, the Bhagavadgita 
laid stress on the doing of duty for duty's sake almost in the 
spirit of the Kantian Categorical Imperative. This is the 
central thread which strings together all the variegated teach- 
ings of the Bhagavadgita. The doctrine of Immortality 
which it teaches in the second Chapter, the way of equanimous 
Yogic endeavour which it inculcates in the fifth, the hope 
which it holds out for sinners as well as saints, for women as 
well as men, in the ninth, the superiority which it declares of 
the way of devotion to the way of mere knowledge in the 
twelfth, and finally, the universal immanence and omnipotence 
of God which it proclaims in the last Chapter, supply merely 
side-issues for the true principle of Moral Conduct which 
finds its justification in Mystic .Realization. The Bhagavad- 
gita, however, had not yet bade good-bye to philosophical 
questionings ; it had not yet ceased to take into account the 
philosophical issues raised by the previous systems of philo- 
sophy ; it had not yet lost hope for reconciling all these 
philosophical issues in a supreme mystic* 1 ,! endeavour. In 
these respects, the mysticism of the Middle Age offers a contrast 
to the mysticism of the Bhagavadgita. Barring a few ex- 
ceptions here and there, the entifp tfiMT f ^he mysticism _of 


the Middle Age is for the practical ^pljiftment . oLTii^ftpJity. 
irrespective 01 any philosophical questionings; and with pro- 
Bably a strong, if not even a slightly .perverted, bias against 
philosophical endeavour to reach the Absolute. We may say, 
in Tact, that as the mysticism of the Bhagavadglta rests upon 
a philosophical foundaSbir, the mysticism of the Middle .Age 
rests jipon itself," invoking no. aid from .any .philosophical con- 
struction whatscteyer^ 

~~ 3* The personality of Krishna, which looms largely behind 

'the teachings of the Bhagavadglta, is 

The Personality of indeed a personality which antiquarians 

Krishna. and critics have sought in vain to con- 

struct from all the available evidence 

from the times of the Vodas to the times of the Puranas. 
While one view would hold that Krishna was merely a solar 
deity, another would regard him merely as a vegetation deity ; 
a third would identify tho Krishna of the Bhagavadglta with 
the Krishna of the Chhandogya Upanishad on the slender 
evidence of both being the nous of Devaki, unmindful of any 
difference between their teachings ; a fourth would father 
upon Krishnaism the influence of Christian belief and practice. 
To add to these things, we have to note that these critics have 
been entirely blind to the fact, as a modern scholar has 
cleverly pointed out, that the Krishna, the famous prince of 
tlie Vrishni family of Mathura, was the same as Vasudeva, 
tho founder of "Bhagavatisni ", which is also called the Satvata 
or the Aikantika doctrine in the Santiparvan. Vasudevism 
was indeed no new religion, pace Dr. Bhandarkar, as has been 
contended sometimes. Tt was merely a new stress on certain 
old beliefs which had come down from the days of the Vedas. 
The spring of devotional endeavour which we see issuing 
out of the mountainous regions of the Veda, being then directed 
primarily to the personality of Varuna, hides itself in the 
philosophical woodlands of the Upanishads, until, in the days 
of the Bhagavadglta, it issues out again, and appears to vision 
in a clear fashion, with only a new stress on the old way of 
beliefs. The* mystical strain, which is to be found in the 
Upanishads, is to be found even here in Vasudevism 
with a greater emphasis on devotion. That the Vasudeva 
doctrine and order existed in the times of Panini is now patent 
to everybody. The epigraphic evidence afforded by the 
Besnagar and Ghasundi inscriptions with even the mention 
of "Dama, Tyaga and Apramada"- virtues mentioned by 
the Bhagavat in the Bhagavadglta lends a strong support 
to, and gives historical justification for, the existence of the 


Vasudeva religion some centuries previous to the Christian 
era; and the philosophic student would note that as in essence 
the religion of the Bhagavadgita does .not differ from the 
religion of the Santiparvan, mysticism being the culmination 
of the teachings of both, it is the same personality of Krishna 
which appears likewise as the promulgator of the Bhagavata 
doctrine, even though in later times that doctrine fell into 
the hands of the mythologists, who, not having been able to 
understand its philosophical and mystical import, tried merely 
to give it an occult and ritualistic colouring. 

4. This indeed did happen as the Pancharatra doctrine 
came to be formulated and developed. 

Vishnu Occultism: the The doctrine has its roots so far bark 

Pancharatra. as at the times of the Mahabharata, 

though later on it came to b? taught 

as a separate occult doctrine. We are concerned here, however, 
only with its later theological development, and not with 
its origin. We have to see how the Pancharatra was a system 
of occult Vishnu worship. The system derived its name from 
having contained five different disciplines, namely, Ontology, 
Liberation, Devotion, Yoga, and Science. Its central occult 
doctrine was that Divinity was to be looked upon as being 
fourfold, that Vishnu manifests himself in the four different 
forms of Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha. 
These are called the four Vyuhas, that is to say, "disinte- 
grations" of the one Divinity into four different aspects. 
Now, the supreme Godhead was regarded as possessing six 
different powers, namely, Jnana, AiSvarya, Sakti, Bala, Virya 
and Tejas. These six qualities are to be "shoved off" into 
three different groups. The first and the fourth constitute 
the first group and belong to Sankarshana. The second and 
the fifth constitute the second group and belong to Pradyumna. 
The third and the sixth constitute the third group and belong 
to Aniruddha. In fact, it seems that the whole Pancharatra 
scheme was based upon the worship of the Vasudeva family : 
Sankarshana was Vasudeva's brother, Pradyumna his son, 
Aniruddha his grand-son. Each of these three Vyiihas, with 
its set of two qualities each, was identical with Vasudeva in 
possession of all the six qualities. When, however, we re- 
member that the last three qualities, namely, Bala, Virya 
and Tejas, are merely a reduplication of the third quality, 
namely Sakti, the sixfold scheme of qualities falls to the ground, 
and what remains is only the three primary qualities, namely, 
Jnana, Ai6varya, and Sakti. These three belong severally to 
Sankarshana, Aniruddha, and Pradyumna, and collectively to 


Vasudeva himself. There is also a cosmological sense in which 
the three last Vyuhas are to be regarded as being related to 
the first, namely, Vasudeva. They are a series of emanations, 
one from another, like one lamp lit from another. From 
Vasudeva was born Sankarsharia, from Sankarshana, Pra- 
dyumna, and from Pradyumna, Aniruddha. This is as much 
as to say, that from the Self was born the Prakriti, from the 
Prakriti, the Mind, and from Mind, Consciousness. Dr. 
Grierson has put the whole cosmological case of the Pancha- 
ratras in a lucid fashion: "Vasudeva first creates Prakriti, 
and passes at the same time into the phase of conditioned 
spirit, Sankarshana. From the association of Sankarshana 
with the Prakriti, Manas is produced ; at the same time 
Sankarshana passes into the phase of conditioned spirit," known 
as Pradyumna. From the association of Pradyumna with 
the Mana,s springs the Samkhya Ahamkara, and Pradyumna 
passes into a tertiary phase known as Aniruddha. From 
Ahamkara and Aniruddha spring forth the Mahabhutas." 
This was how the four Vyuhas came to be endowed with a 
cosmological significance. Vishnu, however, whose mani- 
festations all the four Vyuhas are supposed to be, is endowed 
by the Pancharatra doctrine with two more qualities, namely, 
Nigraha and Anugraha, which, when paraphrased freely, 
might mean destruction and construction, disappearance and 
appearance, frown and favour, determinism and grace. The 
theistic importance of the Pancharatra comes in just here 
that it recognizes the principle of " grace ". The grace of the 
Divinity is compared to a shower of compassion which comes 
down from heaven : it droppeth as the gentle rain upon the 
place beneath. The Pancharatra rarely uses Advaitic langu- 
age, and had it not been for the doctrine of the Antaryamin, 
which, as Dr. Schrador has pointed out, is its point of contact 
with Pantheism, it would not have much in common with the 
Advaitic scheme. It does not support the illusionistic doctrine 
of the Advaita, and its Occultism is writ large upon its 
face in its disintegration of the one Divinity into four aspects, 
which acquire forthwith an equal claim upon the devotion of 
the worshipper. 

5. Correlative to the Vishnu Occultism of the Pancharatra, 

we have the Siva Occultism of Tantrism, 

Siva Occultism : the sources of which likewise are to be 

Tantrism. traced as far back as the days of the 

Mahabharata. The Siva Occultism even 
surpasses Vishnu Occultism in point of irregularities of belief 
and practice, which must be regarded evidently as aberrations 


of mysticism. When we remember the distinction between 
Mysticism and Occultism, the one given entirely to God- 
devotion and God-realization, and the other to mere incrusta- 
tions on these, which inevitably gather round any good 
thing as time goes on, we shall not wonder at the great aber- 
rations of practice which are illustrated in the development 
of Tantrism. Possessing an immense literature as it does, 
Tantrism abounds in discussions of Mantra, Yantra and Nyasa, 
which are only fortuitous, and therefore unnecessary, elements 
in the true worship by means of the heart, which alone mysti- 
cism commends. Its worship of Linga and Yom, if literally 
understood, is almost a shame on the system, whatever it& 
redeeming points may be. No doubt, when Tantrism re- 
cognizes Siva as the embodiment of supreme consciousness, 
and Sakti as the embodiment of supreme power, both being 
merely the aspects of that eternal Verity, the Brahman, it 
preaches a truth which is worth while commending in philoso- 
phy. Tantrism recognizes itself to be the practical counter- 
part of Advaitism. In that respect, even the great Samkara- 
charya may be regarded as a great Tantrist ; and Tantrism 
was supposed to be merely the Sadhana counterpart of the 
doctrine of Monism. It is not its philosophic standpoint 
which is worth while commenting on in Tantrism. It is rather 
its practical part, the part of Sadhana, which, if literally 
understood, was sure to engender grievous, bordering 
upon immorality and vice. Its fivefold Sadhana, namely, 
the drinking of wine, the eating of fish, the partaking of flesh, 
the use of parched cereals, and the act of sexual conjugation, 
which are regarded by the Tantra as its five chief Makaras, 
if literally understood, have as muoh in common with true 
Mysticism as the South Pole with the North Pole. An attempt 
is therefore made to justify the Sadhana of the Tantrists in 
an allegorical fashion, as has been done, for example, by inter- 
preters like Justice Woodrofie, who say that the five kinds of 
Sadhana may be represented by the intoxication of knowledge, 
the surrender of actions to the self, sympathy from a sense 
of 'mineness' (Mam) with the sins and pleasures of all, the 
parching of evil actions, and finally, the conjugation of the 
Kundalini in the Muladhara Chakra, which is the embodiment 
of power, with Siva in the Sahasrara, which is the embodiment 
of consciousness. Any belief and practice could thus be made 
to wear an attractive garb ; and wherever, in fact, the five- 
fold Sadhana was understood in a higher sense, it did certainly 
not degenerate into corrupt practices. But the generality of 
mankind are not philosophers, and they could not be expected 


to understand the philosophic import of the Panchatattva- 
sadhana. One could easily understand why an ordinary man 
would busy himself in the worship of the female as female, 
and not as the embodiment of the supreme Sakti, and in case 
one's own wife could not be had for worship, a provision could 
be made for the worship of the female either in the person of 
another man's wife, or in that of any virgin whatsoever. When 
a daughter or a mother could be substituted for one's own 
wife, the worship would not certainly degenerate into mis- 
sexual relations ; but wherever a woman as woman was to 
be the object of worship, the generality of mankind could not 
be supposed to have had that calm vision of things, which 
would prevent them from mis-using the Tantric practice. 
The philosopher indeed could suppose that the worship of the 
female was intended as a method for checking and controlling 
one's own evil passions, for the subjugation of the Self in the 
midst of temptations. But with ordinary men, nature would 
certainly get the better of belief ; hence, the possibility, nay, 
even the probability of the degeneration of Tantric practices, 
as we see illustrated in the Chuclachakra and the Snehachakra 
practices. In Psychology, however, Tantrism did one good 
service in the development of Indian thought. It supposed 
that a man's mind was a vast magazine of powers, and as the 
universal Consciousness was supposed to be vehicled by the 
universal Power, so man's consciousness was supposed to be 
vehicled by the power in the form of mind and body. The 
unfoldment of such power was the work of Sadhana. A man, 
in whom Sakti was awakened, dift'ered immensely from the 
man in whom it was sleeping, and the whole psychological 
process of the Tantric. Sadhana lay in the awakening of the 
Kundalinl. Tantrism did great service to the development 
of physiological knowledge when it recognized certain plexuses 
in the human body such as the Adharachakra, the Svadhish- 
thanachakra, the Anuhatachakra, and so on, until one reached 
the Sahasrarachakra in the brain. But on the whole, it may 
not be far away from the truth to say that Tantrism would drive 
true mysticism into occult channels, from which it* would 
not be easy to extricate it, and set it on a right foundation. 

6 We have hitherto considered the occult movements, 
both Vaishnavite and Saivite, which 

The Bhagavata as a spring from the days of the Mahabharata 
Storehouse of Ancient to end in utterly sectarian systems, each 
Mysticism. of which tries to develop its dogma in 

its particular way. We shall now 
consider the mystic movement proper, for which our texts 


are the Bhagavata, the Narada Bhakti -Sutra and the Sandilya 
Bhakti-Sutra. These three works represent the Mystic develop- 
ment of thought which probably runs side by side with the 
Occult movement on the one hand, which we have already con- 
sidered, and the Philosophic movement on the other, which we 
shall consider a little further. That the Bhagavata influenced 
systems of philosophical thought like those of Ramanuja and 
Madhva, that it had by that time earned sufficient confidence 
from the people to be used as a text-book, that it is the re- 
pository of the accounts of the greatest mystics from very 
ancient times, that, though some of its language may be 
modern, it contains archaisms of expression and diction which 
may take it back to the early centuries of the Christian era 
all these facts make it impossible that the Bhagavata should 
have been written, as is sometimes contended, about the 12th 
century A.D., thus implying unmistakably that it must have 
been written earlier, pari passu with the development of early 
philosophical systems, so as ultimately, in course of time, to 
be able to influence later formulations of thought. The 
Bhagavata, as we have pointed out, is a repository of the 
accounts of the Ancient Mystics of India, and if we may seek 
for some Types of Mystics in the Bhagavata, we may find a 
number of such Types, which later on influenced the whole 
course of the Mystic movement. Dhruva, in the first place, 
is a child-prince who leaves his kingdom and the world when 
he is insulted by his step-mother, and who, in the agonies of 
his insult, seeks the forest where he meets the spiritual teacher 
who imparts to him the knowledge of the way to God, and who 
ultimately succeeds in realizing His vision (IV. 8). Prahlacla, 
the son of the Demon-King, whose love to God stands un- 
vaiiquished in the midst of difficulties, whose very alphabets 
are the alphabets of devotion, who escapes the dangers of the 
fire and the mountain when his earnestness about God is put 
to the test, supplies another example of a pure and disinterested 
love to God, so that he is able to say to God when he sees 
Him- "I am Thy disinterested Devotee. Thou art my dis: 
interested Master. But if Thou wishest to give me any boon 
at all, bestow upon me this, that no' desire should ever 
spring up within me" (VII. 10). Uddhava is the friend of 
God, wliose love to Him stands the test of time, and of philo- 
sophical reasoning (X. 46). Kubja, the crooked concubine, 
who conceived apparently a sexual love towards Krishna, 
had her own sexuality transformed into pure love, which made 
her ultimately the Beloved of the Divine (X. 42). Even the 
Elephant who lifted up his trunk to God when his foot 


was caught hold of by the great Alligator in the sea, supplies 
us with another illustration as to how even animals might be 
saved by devotion, and as to how God might come to 
their succour in the midst of their afflictions (VII. 2-3). 
Sudaman, the poor devotee, who has no other present to offer 
to God except a handful of parched rice, is ultimately rewarded 
by God who makes him the lord of the City of Gold (X, 80-81). 
Ajamila, the perfect sinner, who is merged in sexuality towards 
a pariah woman, gets liberation merely by uttering the Name 
of God at the time of his death (VI. 1-2). The sage Ajagara, 
who lives a life of idle contentment and of unconscious service 
to others, has derived his virtues from a Serpent and a Bee, 
whom he regards as his spiritual teachers (VII. 13). Rishabha- 
deva, whose interesting account we meet with in the Bhagavata, 
is yet a mystic of a different kind, whose utter carelessness of 
his body is the supreme mark of his God-realization. We 
read how, having entrusted to his son Bharata the kingdom 
of the Earth, he determined to lead a life of holy isolation from 
the world ; how he began to live like a blind or a deaf or a 
dumb man ; how he inhabited alike towns and villages, 
mines and gardens, mountains and forests ; how he never 
minded however much he might be insulted by people, who 
threw stones and dung at him, or micturited on his body, or 
subjected him to all sorts of humiliation ; how in spite of all 
these things his shining face and his strong-built body, his 
powerful hands and the smile on his lips, attracted even the 
women in the royal harems ; how, careless of his body as he 
was, he discharged his excreta at the very place at which he 
took his food ; how, nevertheless, his excreta smelt so fragrant 
that the air within ten miles around became fragrant by its 
smell ; how he was in sure possession of all the grades of happi- 
ness mentioned in the Upanishad ; how ultimately he decided 
to throw over his body ; how, when he had first let his 
subtle body go out of his physical body, he went travelling 
through the Karnataka and other provinces, where, while he 
was wandering like a lunatic naked and lone, he was caught 
in the midst of a great fire kindled by the friction of bamboo 
trees ; and how finally he offered his body in that fire as a 
holocaust to God (V. 5-6). Avadhuta is yet a mystic of a 
different type, who learns from his twenty-four Gurus 
different lands of virtues, such as Forbearance from the 
Earth, Luminosity from the Fire, Unfathomableness from the 
Ocean, Seclusion from a Forest, and so on, until he ultimately 
synthesizes all these different virtues in his own unique life 
(XL 7). Suka, in whose mouth the philosophico-mystical 


doctrines of the Bhagavata are put, is the type of a great 
mystic who practises the philosophy that he teaches, whose 
mystical utterances go to constitute the whole of the Bhaga- 
vata, and who sums up his teaching briefly in the 87th chapter 
of the Xth Skandha of the Bhagavata, where he points out 
the necessity of a Spiritual Teacher, of Devotion, and of the 
Company of the Good for a truly mystical life. Finally, 
Krishna himself, who is the hero of the Xth and the Xlth 
Skandhas of the Bhagavata, who, on account of his great 
spiritual powers, might be regarded as verily an incarnation 
of God, whose relation to the Gopis has been entirely mis- 
represented and misunderstood, whose teachings in essence 
do not differ from those advanced in the Bhagavadgita, who 
did not spare his own family when arrogance had seized it, 
who lived a life of action based upon the highest philosophical 
teaching, and who, when the time of his departure from earthly 
existence came, offered himself to be shot by a hunter 
with an arrow r , thus making a pretext for passing out of mortal 
existence, supplies us with the greatest illustration of a' Mystic 
who is at the top of all the other mystics mentioned in the 
Bhagavata Purana. 

1. There has been no greater misunderstanding than that 
about the spiritual nature of Krishna, 

The True Nature of and his relation to the Gopis. Tt has 
the Relation of the Gopis been supposed that the Gopis were filled 
to Krishna. with sexual passion for Krishna ; that 

he primarily satisfied only the sexual 
instincts of these Gopis ; that this satisfaction was later 
given a spiritual turn ; and that, therefore, the true nature of 
Krishna's spirituality and his relation to the Gopis is at bottom 
sexual. There ran be no greater absurdity, or no greater 
calumny, than is implied in such a view. That eroticism has 
got anything to do with spiritualism, we utterly deny. Tt 
is impossible to see in the sexual relation of man to woman, 
or of woman to man, any iota of the true nature of spiritual 
life. When Catherine of Siena and mystics of her type want- 
ed to marry God, when Mirabai and Kanhopatra in later 
times wedded themselves to God, when Andal, the female 
Tamil mystic, tried to espouse God, it has been supposed, the 
erotic instinct implied in such attempts was a partial mani- 
festation of the spiritual love to God. This is an entire 
calumny on, and a shame to, the true nature of spiritual life. 
Spirituality is gained not by making common cause with 
sexuality, but by rising superior to it. That Krishna ever 
had any sexual relation with the Gopis is hard to imagine. 


It is a lie invented by later mythologists, who did not under- 
stand the true nature of spiritual life. Hence Parikshit's 
query, as well as Suka's justification, about the true nature 
of Krishna, are alike illustrations of the ignoratio elenchi. 
Parikshit truly objects to the holiness of Krishna, if the latter's 
sexuality were to be a fact ; but the answers which Suka gives, 
or is made to give, fall entirely wide of the mark. To Parikshit's 
question why Krishna committed adultery, Suka gives futile 
answers. He tells us, in the first place, that all the great 
gods have committed adultery, thus trying to exonerate 
Krishna from the supposed sin. Secondly, he tells us that 
fire burns all impurities, and that Krishna's true nature burnt 
away all sins if he had committed any. Thirdly, he tells us 
that God must be regarded as being beyond both sin and merit, 
and that, therefore, the motive of Krishna was beyond the 
suspicion of being either meritorious or sinful. Fourthly, he 
tries to tell us that the conduct of great men need not tally 
with their words, and thus Krishna's superior teaching was 
left unaffected by his practice. Fifthly, he tells us that the 
actions of a man are all of them results of his Karman, and 
that probably the sexual dalliances of Krishna were the result 
of his previous Karman. Sixthly, he tries to exculpate Krishna 
by saying that by his divine nature he was immanent both in 
the Gopis as wall as their husbands, and that therefore there 
was no taint of adultery in his actions. His seventh argument 
is still more interesting. He tells us that Krishna by his Maya 
produced doubles of these Gopis before their husbands, and 
that therefore there was no objection to his enjoying the origi- 
nal Gopis ! an argument which is foolish on its face, telling us 
as it does, that God tries to exonerate Himself from His sins 
by a magical sleight-of-hand. All those arguments are either 
childish or irrelevant. The only argument of any value that 
has been advanced to describe the real nature of the relation 
of the Gopis to Krishna is the psychological argument, that the 
relation is to be only an allegorical representation of the relation 
of the senses to the Self,- thus making it evident that any cult 
of devotion that may be raised upon the sexual nature of the 
relation of Krishna to tte Gopis may be raised only on stub- 
ble. Finally, we may advance also a mystical explanation of 
the way in which the Gopis may be supposed to have enjoyed 
Krishna. May it not be possible, that, in their mystical reali- 
sation, each of the Gopis had the vision of the Godhead before 
her, and that God so clivided Himself before all of them, that 
He seemed to be enjoyed by each and all at the same time ? 
It is granted to women as to men to have a mystical enjoyment 


of God, and it is as meaningless to speak of God as the bride- 
groom of a female devotee, as to speak of Him as the bride of 
a male devotee. There are no sexual relations possible with 
God, and Eroticism has no place in Mysticism. 

8. The Sandilya and the Narada Bhakti-Sutras are, as 

TheSandil a Sutra we ^ ave ^served, like the Bhagavata, 
A L M A c ** fundamental works of Indian mysti- 
and the Narada outra. T . . , n . ^ 

cism. It is not very easy to determine 

the exact dates of composition of these Sutras. The Sandilya 
Bhakti-Sutra seems to be older on account of its archaic tone, 
and is evidently modelled after the pattern of the great phi- 
losophical Sutras. If any internal evidence is of any avail, 
we may say that even this points to the anteriority of the 
Sandilya-Sutra. The Narada Bhakti-Sutra quotes Sandilya, but 
the Sanclilya does not quote Narada. In point of content, how- 
ever, the Narada Bhakti-Sutra surpasses not merely the Sandilya 
by its easy eloquence and fervid devotion, but it may 
even be regarded as one of the best specimens of Bhakti liter- 
ature that have ever been written. The Sandilya-Sutra is more 
philosophic than the Narada-Sutra. It goes into the question 
of the nature of Brahman and Jiva, their inter-relation, tie 
question of Creation, and so on. The Narada Bhakti-Sutra 
takes a leap immediately into the doctrine of devotion, analyzes 
its various aspects, and sets a ban against mere philosophical 
constructions. Both the Sandilya and the Narada quote the 
Bhagavadgita freely, and in that respect supply us with the 
connecting link between the Bhagavadgita on the one hand, 
and the later Bhakti literature on the other. So far as the 
teaching of devotion is concerned, we cannot say that there is 
much distinction between the Sandilya Bhakti-Sutra and the 
Narada Bhakti-Sutra. The two are on a par, so far as that 
doctrine is inculcated. Over and above the general contents 
of the doctrine of devotion as inculcated in the Narada, the 
Sarujilya, however, teaches that Bhakti may be of two kinds- 
primary and secondary. Secondary Bhakti concerns itself 
with Ritualism, with Kirtana, with DhySna, with Puja, and 
even with Namasmarana. Primary. Bhakti, on the other 
hand, means the up-springing of the pure fount of love in man 
towards God. When we once taste of this, nothing else 
matters ; but if we have only secondary devotion, we cannot be 
supposed to have known the nature of Supreme Devotion. 

9. The Nftrada Bhakti-Sutra begins by defining what 
Tbc Teachings of the ^zkii is. (1) It places on record vari- 
N rada Bhakti-Sutra ous Definitions of Bhakti advanced by 

its predecessors, and then gives us what 


its own definition of Bhakti is. According to Para6ara, we are 
told, Bhakti consists in the worship of God. According to Garga, 
it consists of the narration of God's exploits. According to 
San<Jilya, so Narada tells us, Bhakti means meditation on the 
Self. While, Narada himself holds that Bhakti is the highest love 
for God, a whole-hearted attachment to God and indifference 
to other things, a surrender of all actions to God and agony 
in His forgetfulness. As a matter of fact, however, love's 
nature, says Narada, is indescribable. As a dumb man who 
eats sugar cannot tell of its sweetness, so a man who enjoys 
the highest fruits of Bhakti cannot describe in words their 
real nature. (2) Then, secondly, Narada goes on to discuss 
the relation of Bhakti to other Ways to God. Between Jnana 
and Bhakti, three sorts of opinions are possible. In the first 
place, it may be maintained that Bhakti is a means'to Jnana, 
as the Advaitists maintain. Others may maintain that Jnana 
and Bhakti are independent and equally useful ways to reach 
God. And thirdly, it may be maintained that Jnana is a 
means to Bhakti, an opinion which Narada himself endorses. 
To him Bhakti is not merely the end of all Jnana, but the end 
of all Karman, and the end of all Yoga. In fact, Bhakti 
should be regarded as an end in itself. It concerns itself with 
a personal God who likes the humble and hates the boastful. 
There are no distinctions of caste, or learning, or family, or 
wealth, or action, possible in Bhakti. (3) Then Narada goes 
on to discuss the means to the attainment of Bhakti. What, 
according to Narada, are the moral requirements of a man who 
wishes to be a Bhakta ? He should, in the first place, leave 
all enjoyments, leave all contact with objects of sense, inces- 
santly meditate on God without wasting a single minute, and 
always hear of God's qualities. He should give himself up 
to the study of the Bhakti Sastras, and should not waste words 
in vain. He should pray for the grace of the Saints and the 
grace of God ; and God will appear and bestow upon him 
spiritual experience in course of time, which, Narada thinks, 
can be attained only by God's grace. He should spend his 
life in serving the good. He should live in solitude, should 
not care for livelihood, should not hear of women, should 
not think about wealth, should not associate with thieves. 
Hypocrisy and arrogance, he should shun as foul dirt. He 
should cultivate the virtues of non-injury, truth, purity, com- 
passion, and belief in God. He should deliberately set himself 
to transform his natural emotions, and make them divine. 
Passion and anger and egoism, he should transform and utilize 
for the service of God. In fact, a divine transformation of all 


the natural emotions must take place in him. He should not 
give himself up to argumentation ; for there is no end to argu- 
mentation. It is manifold, and cannot be bridled. The 
devotee should be careless of the censure of others, and should 
have no anxiety whatsoever \vhile he meditates. (4) Then, 
Narada goes on to tell us the various kinds of Bhakti. Firstly, 
he divides Bhakti into Sattvika, Rajasa and Tamasa. He 
draws upon the three categories of the Bhaktas as given in 
the Bhagavadgita, namely, the Arta, the Jijnasu and the 
Artharthin, and tells us that the Arta possesses the Sattvika 
Bhakti, the Jijnasu the Rajasa Bhakti, and the Artharthin 
the TSmasa Bhakti, and tells us that the first is superior to 
the second, and the second superior to the third. One does 
not know why the Bhakti of the Arta should be regarded as 
superior to the Bhakti of the Jijnasu. Why should we not 
regard the Bhakti of the Jijnasu as Sattvika, and the Bhakti 
of the Arta as Rajasa ? Narada has no answer to give. There 
is yet again another classification of the kinds of Bhakti which 
Narada makes. He tells us that it is of eleven kinds. It consists 
of singing the qualities of God, a desire to see His form, wor- 
shipping the image of God, meditation on Him, the service of 
God, friendship with God, affection towards God, loye to God 
as to a husband, surrender of one's own Self to God, atonement 
with God, and the agony of separation from God. (5) As 
regards the criterion of Bhakti, Narada teaches that it is 
"Svayampramana" : the criterion of Bhakti is in itself. 
Complete peace and complete happiness are its characteristics. 
"Anubhava" which is the practical index of Bhakti should 
increase from moment to moment. It ought to be permanent. 
It ought to be subtle. While the psycho-physical characteristics 
of Bhakti are, that it should make the throat choked with 
love, should make the hair stand on end, and should compel 
divine tears from meditating eyes. When, therefore, complete 
happiness and peace are enjoyed, whe'n "Anubhava" is attain- 
ed, when all the psycho-physical effects are experienced, then 
alone is true Bhakti generated. They are the criteria of 
Bhakti. (6) Finally, Narada tells us what the effects of 
Bhakti are. It is Bhakti alone which leads to true immortality. 
It is Bhakti which endows us with complete satisfaction. 
Bhakti drives away all desires from us. A Bhakta uplifts 
not merely himself, but others also. He ceases to grieve ; 
he ceases to hate ; he feels no enjoyment in other things ; 
he feels no enthusiasm for other things ; he becomes intoxi- 
cated with love ; he remains silent. Spiritual "Epokhe" is 
the mark of the saint. 


10. We have hitherto considered two movements, one the 
Occult, the other the Mystic, which run 

The Philosophic side by side with each other from the 
Schools and their Infhi- early centuries of the Christian era to 
ence on Hindi, Bengali almost the end of the first Millennium. 
and Gujerathi Mysti- Pwi passu with these, there was yet a 
cism. third movement, a movement which we 

may call the Philosophic movement. 
There are four great representatives of this movement as we 
have had the occasion to notice in the previous Volumes of 
this History, namely, Samkara, Ramanuja, Madhva and 
Vallabha. Samkaracharya's system is supposed to be antagon- 
istic to the Bhakti movement, and, to that extent, unmystical. 
But it must be remembered that Samkara did not neglect 
Bhakti, but absorbed it into his absolutistic scheme. If 
Samkara's movement is not mystical in its aim, we do not 
understand what it is. Ramanuja, Madhva, and Vallabha, 
who founded three great schools of philosophic thought, wielded 
a great influence even up to the end of the fifteenth century, 
and may all be said to have gone against the Maya doctrine of 
Samkara. They made Bhakti the essential element in the 
Vedantic scheme, and although Vallabha preached a philo- 
sophical monism, Ramanuja and Madhva could not under- 
stand how theism and pantheism could be reconciled in mysti- 
cism. It is just this reconciling tendency of mysticism which 
has been lost sight of by all dogmatic theorisers about theism 
and pantheism. From the schools of Ramanuja, Madhva, 
and Vallabha, sprang forth great Bhakti movements from 
the 13th century onwards in the various parts of India. 
It is interesting to note how Ramanuja's influence dwindled 
in his birth-land to reappear with greater force in Upper India. 
Ramananda, who was a philosophical descendant of Ramanuja, 
quarrelled with his spiritual teacher, and came and settled at 
Benares. From him, three great mystical schools started up : 
the first, tfie school of Tulsidas ; the second, the school of 
Kabir ; and the third, the school of Nabhaji. Kabir was 
also influenced by Sufism. Tulsidas was greatly influenced by 
the historico-mythical story of .Rama. Nabhaji made it 
liis business to chronicle the doings of the great Saints in the 
Hindi language. From the school of Madhva, arose the great 
Bengali saint Chaitanya, who was also influenced by his 
predecessor saints in Bengal, Chandidasa and Vidyapati. 
Vallabha exercised a great influence in Gujerath, and Mirabai 
and Narasi Mehta sprang up under the influence of his teach- 
ings. We thus see how from the Philosophical Schools, there 


arose a DanMiCJ&tijcal Mysticism which laid stress upon the 
vernaculars as the media of mystical teaching, as opposed to 
the Classical Mysticism of ancient times, which had Sanskrit 
as its language of communication. It was also a democrati- 
sation not merely in language, but also in the spirit of teach- 
ing, and we see how mysticism became the property of all. 
It is thus evident how the mystical literature in Hindi, Bengali, 
and Gujerathi was influenced *by the three great schools of 
Ramanuja, Madhva, and Vallabha respectively. All these 
saints we shall have the occasion to notice in great detail in 
our next Volume. 

11. We must pause here for a while to consider the question 

of Christian influence on the develop- 

. ment of the Bhakti doctrine in India. 

Christian Influence on Opinions have greatly differed on this 

the Bhakti Doctrine. ^ubject. According to one opinion, the 

Indian doctrine of Bhakti is entirely 

foreign in its origin ; the Indians, according to this opinion, are 
incapable of Bhakti, and what devotion they came to possess 
was from the start due to the influence from other lands. A 
second theory would hold that even though the doctrine of 
Bhakti in its origins may not be supposed to be un-Indian, 
its later development was influenced among other things by 
the worship of the Child-God and the Sucking Mother, and 
thus, it must be supposed to have been mainly influenced by 
Christianity; Ramanuja and Madhva, according to this 
theory, are supposed to have been influenced by Christian 
doctrine and practice, especially because, in their native places, 
it is presumed, there was a great deal of Christian influence. 
According to a third view, the Indian doctrine of Bhakti is 
entirely Indian, and it does not allow that either Ramanuja 
or Madhva were influenced by Christian doctrine, far less that 
the Bhakti doctrine was Christian in its origin ; but this view 
would not deny the possibility, as in the 20th century to-day, 
of both Hinduism and Christianity influencing each other 
under certain conditions, both in doctrine and practice. It 
would suppose that their identical teachings on such important 
subjects as the value of the Spiritual Teacher, the significance 
of God's Name, the conflict of Faith and Works, or of Predesti- 
nation and Grace, are due entirely to their development from 
within, and to -no influence from without. It does not allow 
that because S.laditya, the king of Kanauj, received a party 
of Syrian Christians in 639 A.D., or even because Akbar re- 
ceived Jesuit missions during frs reign, that Christianity influ- 
enced the course of thought either of Kabir or of 


This would be quite as impossible as to suppose that Jfiane- 
svara himself was influenced by Christianity, simply on the 
ground, as was once asserted, that the expression " Vai- 
kunthlche Ranive " (the Kingdom of God) occurs in his writings, 
or that Tukaram was likewise influenced by Christianity by 
his insistence on the power of sin in man. The feeling of 
demotion is present in a more or less pronounced fashion 
throughout all the stages of thg progress of humanity from 
its cradle downwards, and it shall so exist as long as humanity 
lasts. On this view, we can argue for the early up-springing 
of the devotional sentiment in all races from within themselves, 
even though some influence of a kind may not be denied when 
religious communities mingle together, especially when they 
have a long contact with each other, a sympathetic imagination, 
and a genuine desire to learn and to assimilate. 

12. That the Christian influence has- nothing to do with 

Tamil Mysticism in its origin, one 
Tamil Mysticism. has merely to open his eyes to discern. 

Both the Tamil Saivites and Vaishna- 

vites who lived centuries before the age of Ramanuja, show 
an utterly innate tendency to Devotion, uninfluenced by any 
foreign thought or practice. The Tamil Saivites seem to have 
been established in the country in the 6th century A.D., and 
through a long line of mystics illustrate the inward impulse 
,which rises from man to God. The great lights of Tamil 
Saivite literature are '^ujflaaasambandhar who flourished 
in the 7th century A.D., Apjpar who flourished in the 
same century, Tirumular who flourished in the 8th century, 
and finally Manilctavachagar, the man of golden utterances, 
who flourished in the 9th, and who, in fact, may be said to 
top the list of the Saivite mystics. In him we see the up- 
springing of a natural devotion to God, which through a con- 
sciousness of his faults, rises by gradations to the apprehension 
of the Godhead. In his great poem, he makes us aware, as 
Dr. Carpenter puts it, of his first joy and exaltation, his subse- 
quent waverings, his later despondencies, his consciousness 
of faiilts, his intensive shame, and his final recovery and 
triumph. The Tamil Vaishnavites, who are headed and herald- 
ed by the great Alvars, open yet 'another line of mystical 
thought, namely, "ot "mysticism through devotion to Vishnu. 
If we set aside the impossible chronologies which are generally 
assigned to these Alvars, we cannot doubt that they also seem 
equally established in their country along with the Tamil 
Saivites in the 6th century. Nammalvar, whose date varies 
from the 8th to the 10th century in the estimate of critics, 


has produced works which are reverenced like the Vedas in the 
whole Tamil-speaking country. His disciple was NathainunL 
who lived about 1000 AD., and who was the collector of Idle 
famous four-thousand hymns of the Alvars. The grandson 
of Nathamuni was the famous Yamunacharya who lived about 
1050 A.D., and whose lineal philosophical descendant was the 
great Ramanuja, who lived from 1050 to 1135 A.D. Here 
we have in a brief outline the two great lines of Saivite and 
Vaishnavite mystics in the Tamil country down to the age of 
Ramanuja. Ramanuja took up his cue from the Vaishnavite 
philosophy, and built a system which was intended to cut at 
the root of both the monistic as well as the dualistic schemes 
of thought. The predecessors of Ramanuja, however, were 
given to devotion more than to philosophy, and they showed 
the pure love of the aspirant for God-realization, uncontami- 
nated by, or uninfluenced by, philosophical thought. 

13. Our praise of these saints, however, cannot be entirely 

unmitigated, for we know how the 

c MT" Radhakrishna cult had influenced the 

anarese ysticism. son g s even o f these great Vaishnavite 

saints. The conception of the relation 
between the bride and bridegroom as the type of the relation 
between the saint and God runs through a great deal of this 
literature, and to that extent vitiates it. Not so the bold and 
sturdy Vira&aiva mysticism, which makes an alliance with 
Advaitic Monism on the one hand, and Moralistic Purism on 
the other, and which, even though a large part of it is given 
to an imaginary discussion of the nature of the various Lingas, 
which are, so to say, merely symbolical illustrations of certain 
psychological conceptions, is yet a philosophy which is well 
worth a careful study. Basava was only a great reformer 
who lived at the beginning of the 13th century, and 
who was the devotee of the image of SamgameSvara at the 
place where the Malaprabha and the Krishna meet. He 
was preceded by a great number of Siddhas, who are as old 
as the Tamil Alvars on the one hand, and the Hindi Nathas 
on the other. Nijagunasivayogi who was more of a philoso- 
pher than a mystic, Akharujesvara who was more of a mora- 
list than a mystic, and Sarpabhushana who was more of a 
mystic than either a philosopher or a moralist, are all of them 
great names in the development of Lingayat thought. Kanaka- 
dasa, who stands apart somewhat, having sprung from a lowly 
order of the Hindus, and Purandaradasa, JagannathadSsa, and 
Vijayadasa who were full-fledged Vaishnavite Hindus, must be 
regarded as supplying us with the development of Vaishnavisjfl 


in the Karnataka, which went pari passu with the develop- 
ment of Vira&aiva mysticism. All these are great names, 
and we must reserve a full treatment of them for our next 

14. Our; immediate concern in this volume, however, is 

the consideration of the teachings of the 

M . .. .. . great Maratha saints from the age of 

Maratha Mysticism. Jfifaadeva 'downwards to the age of 

Ramadasa, beginning in fact from the 
13th __ century and ending with the 17th, leaving the 
consideration of the development of Indian thought in the 
18th and 19th centuries for the last Volume of this History. 
For fear of increasing the bulk of our present volume to an 
unpardonable extent, we must restrict our attention only to 
a section of the great mystical community in Indi#, namely, 
the section of the Maratha Saints. The beginning of the 
mystical line was effectively made in Maharashtra by Jnana- 
deva, whose father is supposed to have been a disciple of 
Sripada Ramananda of Benares, or yet again, of Ramananda 
himself. In that case, it would be very interesting to see how 
not merely the two streams of Kabir and Tulsidas issued from 
the fountain-head of Ramananda, but even how Maratha mysti- 
cism in a way could be traced to the same fountain. But in 
any case, it is certain that Nivrittinatha and Jnanadeva came 
from the spiritual line of the great Gahininatha, as is more than 
once authentically evidenced by the writings of both Nivritti 
and Jnanadeva themselves. That Nivrittinatha was instruc- 
ted by Gahininatha in spiritual knowledge, that Gahininatha 
derived his spiritual knowledge from Goraksha, and Goraksha 
from Matsyendra, it is needless to reiterate. The Sampradaya 
was a Sampradaya of Nathas. When and how Matsyendra- 
natha and Gorakshanatha actually lived and flourished, it is 
impossible to- determine. But it remains clear that they 
cannot be unhistorical names. Behind Matsyendranatha, we 
have mythology, but after Matsyendra, we have history; 
and it is evident that Jnanesvara belonged to that great line 
of the Nathas, who like the Alvars in the Tamil country and 
the Siddhas in the Lingayat community, successfully laid the 
foundation of mysticism in Maharashtra through their great 
representative, Jnanesvara. It is not without reason that 
many a later mystic acknowledges that the foundation of 
that mystical edifice was laid by Jnanesvara, above which 
Namadeva and other saints later erected the divine sanctuary, 
of which Tuka became the pinnacle. And while a continuous 
tradition goes on from Jnanesvara, to Namadeva, and from 


NSmadeva to EkanStha, and from Ekanfitha to TukSrSma, 
Ramadasa like Heracleitus stands somewhat apart in his spiri- 
tual isolation. His is a new Sampradaya altogether : it is not 
the Sampradaya of the Varkaris. It is for that reason that the 
Varkaris have looked askance at the great spiritual work of 
Ramadasa. But we who stand for no Sampradaya whatsoever, 
and who, like bees, want to collect spiritual honey wherever it 
may be found, recognize, from the mystical point of view, no 
distinction of any kind between the Sampradaya of the Varka- 
ris, and the Sampradaya of the Dharkaris, the Sampradaya of 
the Cymbal, or the Sampradaya of the Sword. A little after 
JnaneSvara, but contemporaneously with him, Namadeva, 
after being tested and found wanting by the potter Gora, en- 
tered the spiritual line at the hands of Visoba Khechara, 
who was a disciple of Sopana, who was himself the disciple of 
Nivritti. Ekan&tha was indeed initiated by Janardana Swami, 
who, as rumour would have it, was initiated by Nrisimha 
Sarasvati, an "avatara" of Dattatreya himself. But it is to 
be remembered that Ekanatha, who was the great-grandson of 
Bhanudasa, was a great Varkari of Pandhari, and moreover, 
Ekanatha himself tells us that he derived his spiritual illumi- 
nation from the line of Jnanesvara. When all these things 
are taken into account, we cannot say that Ekanatha stands 
apart from the great spiritual line of Jnanesvara. Tukarama, 
who is perhaps the most well-known among the Maratha 
saints, derives his spiritual lineage from a Chaitanya line. 
What connection this line had with the Chaitanya school in 
Bengal has not yet been discovered. But it is at any rate clear 
that Tukarama developed the Varkari Sampradaya through 
a repeated study of the works of Jnanesvara, Namadeva and 
Ekanatha. Ramadasa probably did not come into contact 
with any of these people for his initiation, and though, as a 
tradition would have it, while he was yet a boy, he and his 
brother were taken to Ekanatha who foresaw in them great 
spiritual giants, he might yet on the whole be said to have 
struck off a new path altogether. If we re-classify these 
great mystics of Maharashtra according to the different types 
of mysticism illustrated in them, they fall into the following 
groups. Jnanesvara is the type of an intellectual mystic ; 
Namadeva heralds the democratic age ; Ekanatha synthe- 
sizes the claims of worldly and spiritual life ; Tukarama's 
mysticism is most personal ; while Ramadasa is the type of 
an active saint. A man may become a saint, and yet, as 
Monsieur Joly has pointed out, he may retain his native tem- 
perament, The different types of mystics that we find among 


the Marftthft saints are not a little due to original tempera- 
mental differences. Between themselves, these great mystics 
of Maharashtra have produced a literature, which shall continue 
to be the wonder of all humanity, which cares at all for an 
expression of mystical thought in any country without distinc- 
tion of creed, caste, or race. 

The Age of Jnanadeva: Intellectual Mysticism. 


Jnanadeva : Biographical Introduction. 

1. The Maharashtra of Jnanadeva's time was a free 

Maharashtra, yet unmolested by Maho- 

Thc Condition of medan invaders. The kings of Devagiri 

Maharashtra in Jnana- were all supreme, and among them 

deva's time. particularly Jaitrapala, who ruled from 

1191 A.D. to 1210 A.D. (Sake 1113-1132). 

Of the first of these, Mukundaraja has been reported to be 
probably the spiritual teacher -Mukundaraj a, the author of 
the Paramamrita and the Vivekasindhu, and probably the first 
great writer of note in Marathi literature. In Jnanadeva 's 
time the ruler at Devagiri was the Yadava king Ramadevarao, 
who is actually mentioned by name towards the close of 
the Jnanesvari. He was a great patron of learning, as also, 
it seems, a devotee of the god of Pandharpur, whose shrine he 
visited and endowed with a munificent sum of money. On 
the whole, the Maharashtra preceding the days of Jnanadeva 
was a free, unmolested, and prosperous Maharashtra, where 
no internecine strife reigned, and where all was unity. 

2. We must say a few words about Mukundaraja, the 

teacher of Jaitrapala, especially because 
Mukundaraja. his Paramamrita seems to have suggested 

the title of Anubhavamrita (or as it is 
also otherwise called Amritanubhava) to Jnanadeva ; and yet 
again because Mukundaraja was not merely a Vedaiitic philo- 
sopher, but, as may be gathered from his writings, a mystic 
also. In his Vivekasindhu II. ii. 34, Mukundaraja traces his 
spiritual lineage from Adinatha, his direct spiritual teacher 
having been Harinatha byname. Mukundaraja tells us in his 
Vivekasindhu how Harinatha tried to propitiate God Sankara 
by all sorts of spiritual practices, by utter resignation, by 
fasting, by concentration, and by every other conceivable 
remedy to attain to God, and how ultimately, all of a sudden, 
God Sankara appeared to him in a vision, and endowed him 
with spiritual illumination. It is true that the language of 
Mukundaraja's works appears modern, and it is for this reason 
that doubt has been thrown upon such a great anteriority 
being assigned to Mukundaraja ; but when we remember that 
ancient works may in course of time be recast into modern 
form, it need not seem impossible that Mukundaraja's works 
themselves may also have been recast, and that therefore 


what modernity there appears in his works is due to the suc- 
cessive shape that the works took after him. As there is, 
however, an early reference in Mukundaraja's works to the 
date of composition of the Vivekasindhu, namely, 1188 A.D. 
(Sake 1110), and as there is a reference also to the king Jaitra- 
pala whose date has been fixed between 1191 to 1210 A.D. 
(Sake 1113 to 1132), it does not seem impossible that Mukunda- 
raja lived at that early date assigned to him by tradition. 
3. The Paramamrita of Mukundaraja is a work in 
which was made the first systematic 
The Paramamrita of attempt in Marathi for the exposition 
Mukundaraja. of the Vedantic principles. Mukunda- 

raja discusses the nature of the physical 
body, the subtle body, the causal body, and other such topics. 
He adds to this intellectual exposition some mystic hints 
which show that Mukundaraja was not merely a philosopher, 
but a saint likewise. In the 9th chapter of the work, he tells 
us in Yogic fashion the practical way to God -attainment, and 
in the 12th he speaks of the great bliss that arises from 
spiritual experience. In this latter chapter, he tells us how 
perspiration, shivering, and other bodily marks characterize the 
ecstatic state (XII. 1), how bodily egoism vanishes in the con- 
templation of the Divine, how all sensual desire dwindles to 
a nullity, how all the senses are filled with joy even when there 
is no physical enjoyment (XII. 6), how in the palace of Great 
Bliss one enjoys the woman that makes her appearance in the 
state of ecstatic realisation (XII. 7), how when both knowledge 
and not-knowledge are at an end, there is the realisation of the 
empire of unitive life for the mystic (XII. 8), how by the force 
of the Great Bliss, no mental state ever dares to intrude upon a 
mystic's consciousness (XII. 10), and how this Great Bliss can 
be experienced only by the mystic, while others stare in wonder 
and sit silent (XII. 13). Mukundaraja tells us furthermore 
that a mystic never allows others to know his real state (XIII. 
11), detailing how he loves all beings, because they are all of 
them the embodiments of God (XIII. 16), how though a Saint 
knows the inner hearts of all, he is yet regarded as a lunatic 
(XIII. 23), and how in the Great Bliss of the ecstatic state 
he never remembers that he has a world to relieve from the 
bonds of mortal existence (XIII. 27). With a shrewdness that 
comes out of spiritual experience, Mukundaraja tells us finally 
that a mystic should never reveal his inner secret (XIV. 18), 
for fear that if mystic knowledge were to be cheap among 
men, people would have an easy chance of deriding the mystic 
wisdom, assuring us, finally, that he who contemplates the 


inner meaning of the Paramamrita shall turn back from the 
world and see the vision of his Self (XIV. 25). 

4. As Mukundaraja lived in the time of Jaitrapala so 

Jnanadeva lived in the time of Rama- 
King Ramadevarao of devarao of Devagiri. That this Rama- 
Devagiri. devarao was a worshipper of Vithoba of 

Pandharpur, is known from an inscription 
in the temple of Pandharpur which tells us that he visited that 
temple in 1276 A.D. (Sake 1198) on the f ull-inoon day of Marga- 
slrsha, and the inscription goes on to tell us that Ramadevarao 
was the head of the religious community of Pandharpur. 
It was during his reign that Jnanadeva composed his Jnanes- 
vari in 1290 A.D.(Sake 1212). Two years before Jnanadeva 
took Samadhi, that is to say, in 1294 A.D. (Sake 1216), Alla- 
uddin Khilji had already come over to EUichpur. with the 
intention of falling upon Devagiri. His forces were immense 
and powerful, and he was backed up by the Emperor of Delhi, 
for which reasons Ramadevarao gave him a large ransom, and 
saved his kingdom. But, in 1306 A.D. (Sake 1228), Allauddin 
Khilji sent again against Devagad a large force imder Malik 
Kaphar, and with the help of his thirty-thousand horse Malik 
Kaphar was able to ransack the whole country of Ramadevarao 
and carry him to Delhi, where the latter remained a prisoner 
for six months, and, returning to his kingdom, died in 1309 
A.D. (Sake 1231). The kingdom of Devagiri did not last long 
thereafter. It was confiscated by the Emperor of Delhi in 
the year 1318 A.D. (Sake 1240). This tragic end of the dynasty 
of Ramadevarao, Jnanadeva did not live to see. 80 long as 
Jnanadeva lived, the kingdom of Ramadevarao enjoyed all 

5. So far about the historical back-ground at the time of 

Jnanadeva. Let us now turn to the 
Th M h bh religious back-ground. Here we must 

e a anu avas. ^^ -^ account two strong forces pre- 
valent before the days of Jnanadeva: 

the first was the literature and the influence of the Mahanu- 
bhavas, and the other the great Yogic tradition of the 
Nathas. As regards the former, it must be remembered that 
it is a literature which certainly claims our attention, and 
in brilliance of style certainly paves the way for a later pro- 
duction like the Jn&nefivaii. The Mahanubhavic conceits 
are like the conceits of the early Elizabethan writers, and we 
may say that Jnanadeva stands to the Mahanubhavas just 
in the same relation in which Shakespeare stood to the early 
Elizabethans. Indeed the whole range of Mahanubhava 


literature has not yet been brought to light ; and what with 
the discovery of the key to the literature of the MahanubhSvas 
which we owe to the late Mr. Rajavade, what with the great 
trouble which the late Mr. Bhave took in bringing the Mahanu- 
bhava literature to light, and what with the aspirations of the 
modern Mahanubhavas themselves to bring their literature 
into line with the literature of the early great Marathi writers, 
we may hope that very soon the leading literary works of the . 
Mahanubhavas will become the property of all. When this 
happens, we shall be able to see how far Jnanadeva in his great 
conceits, in his imaginations, in his flights of poetical fancy, in 
his vocabulary, as well as in his diction, stands related to the 
Mahanubhavas ; but it may be said at once that the Mahanu- 
bhavic contribution to religion was of a peculiar kind, and 
that Jnanadeva owed practically little to that tradition. 
It is true that the Mahanubhavas made current certain 
Yogic practices which might have influenced some of the writ- 
ings of Jnanadeva ; but so far as the philosophy of religion 
is concerned, Jnanadeva goes back to the Upanishads, the 
Bhagavadgita. the Bhagavata (which, by the bye, he also 
mentions in his great work) and such other early classics. The 
Mahanubhavas were hitherto regarded as having disbelieved 
in the caste system, as having disregarded the teachings of 
the Vedas, as having felt 110 necessity for the system of the 
ASramas, and as not having recognized any deities except 
Krishna. But modern apologists of that sect are announcing 
that they have ever believed in the caste system ; that though 
they have not recognized the principle of slaughter in Yajna, 
still they have believed, on the whole, in the Vedas ; that they 
have sanctioned the system of the Afiramas ; and that even 
though they worship Chakradhara as Krishna, by Chakradhara 
is not to be understood certainly the man who founded that 
sect at the beginning of the llth century. Hence even 
though they believe in Krishna, they do not believe in Vitthala. 
They would recognize no other deities except Krishna him- 
self. It is probably due to the recognition of this deity that 
they wear dark-blue clothes. The insinuation, which some 
critics of Jnanesvara have made to the effect that the references 
to the blue colour in his Abhangas are influenced by the 
Majianubhavas, absolutely loses all weight, when we take into 
consideration the fact that the blue colour referred to by 
Jnanadeva in his Abhangas is the blue colour of mystic ex- 
perience, and not the blue colour which is the characteristic of 
Mahanubkava costume. And as for the non-worship of any 
deity except Krishna, the worship of Krishna or Vitthala in the 


JnJlneSvara school marks that school away from the MahSnu- 
bhSva sect. But it cannot be gainsaid that the Mahanu- 
bhSvas exercised a great deal of influence in their day, and 
that Jnanadeva, so far from being merely a partisan or an 
opponent of them, took a more broad-minded and liberal 
view, going back to the fountain-head of the Hindu religion. 
6. Another influence this time of the Yogic kind was 

afloat in the country before the days of 
The Nathas. Jnanadeva. We know how Trimbak- 

pant, the great-grandfather of Jnana- 
deva, was initiated at Apegaon by Gorakshanatha ; we know 
how later Gahininatha, the disciple of Gorakshanatha, initiated 
Nivrittinatha. Gorakshanatha himself was a lineal spiritual 
descendant of Matsyendranatha, but we do not know whether 
this latter may be regarded as a historical person. TL'hen again, 
we do not know anything about the place in which the Nathas 
lived. They are claimed by the people in Bengal as having 
lived in their part of the country ; by the Hindi people as 
having lived in theirs ; by the Marathi people as having lived 
in theirs. Thus, for example, the story of Jalandhara and 
Mainavati is probably a Bengali story, while in Maharashtra 
in the District of Satara. there is yet shown a hill sacred to 
Matsyendranatha, which is called Matsyendragada, and a huge 
tamarind tree called the Gorakshachiiicha sacred to Goraksha. 
When Gahininatha instructed Nivrittinatha, we are told that 
the instruction took place at Brahmagiri near Nasik. It thus 
seems that Maharashtra disputes with Bengal the honour of 
being the habitat of the Nathas. It seems very probable 
that Gorakshanatha and Gahininatha actually existed : that 
Gahininatha was a historical person is proved by his having 
imparted instruction to Nivrittinatha and Jnanadeva ; that 
Gorakshanatha also did likewise exist is proved by some works 
like Goraksha-Samhita which go after him and are still extant, 
All religions thus lose themselves in mystery at their start, 
and it is only later that they come to the vision of men. 
Thus was it with the Natha-sampradaya. The full-fledged 
fruit of their Sampradaya appeared to view in the great im- 
mortal work of Jnanadeva, and it shows what that wisdom 
was, which Jnanadeva imbibed from his spiritual ancestors. 
It is also likely that the Nathas may have been itinerant reli- 
gious devotees. Thus their appearance in Bengal, in the Hindi- 
speaking country, as well as in Maharashtra, could be very 
well explained. What disciples they made is not known. But if 
they produced one such disciple as Jnanadeva, the whole raison 
of their spiritual life may be said to have been fulfilled, 


7. Trimbakpant is the first well-known ancestor of Jnana- 

deva. He was, in fact, his great-grand- 

The Ancestors of father. We have referred to the fact 

Jnanadeva. that he obtained spiritual initiation at 

the hands of Gorakshanatha. Bhingar- 

kar produces a document in which Trimbakpant was made the 
provincial Governor of Bida in 1207 A.D. (Sake 1129) by the 
king of Devagiri. Bhingarkar also produces another document 
in which Haripant, the son of Trimbakpant, was made the cap- 
tain of an army in 121 3 A.D. (Sake 1 135). The physical lineage 
of Jnanadeva comes not from Haripant, but from another 
son of Trimbakpant, namely, Govindpant. Jnanadeva's 
father, Vitthalpant, was the son of this Govindpant, and it 
is the story of Vitthalpant which we now proceed to trace. 

8. Vitthalpant inherited from his ancestors the Kulkarni- 

ship of Apegaon, a village situated on 
The Story of the northern bank of the Godavari, a 

Vitthalpant. few miles away from Paithana. He was 

married to Eakhumabai, the daughter 
of Sidhopant, Kulkarni of Aland!. Tt seems Vitthalpant 
took very much to heart the death of his father Govindpant, 
and that thereafter he became disgusted with life. From 
a document produced by Bhingarkar which bears the date 
1266 A.D. (Sake 1188), it seems that Vitthalpant with his wife 
was invited by Sidhopant to live with him, and that he was 
advised to give up attachment to worldly life only after the 
obtainment of progeny. Vitthalpant had no children from 
his wife for a long time, which was another cause of his in- 
creasing disgust with the world. One day, with the consent 
of his wife, he left home and family to live in Benares. He 
there took orders, and was initiated as a Samnyasin either by 
Ramananda himself, or by one belonging to his school. There 
is here a little difference of opinion as to whether Vitthalpant 
as a Samnyasin belonged to the Ananda school or to the 
Asrama school. Nabhaji, and therefore Mahlpati, say that he 
belonged to the Ananda school. Namadeva and Niloba relegate 
Vitthalpant to the Asrama school. Namadeva tells us how 
Vitthalpant, whom he calls Chaitanyasrama, later became a 
house-holder : IrcT^rTsnr^Fft \ ^m^ ^PTRTT. In any case, it is 
certain that while Vitthalpant's spiritual teacher was once 
travelling from place to place on a spiritual pilgrimage, he 
got down at Aland!, where meeting with Siddhesvarapant and 
Rakhumabai, who were pining after the loss of Vitthalpant, 
he was moved with their heart-felt supplications, and coming 
t*> know that Vitthalpant, whom he had made a 


had left behind him a wife to support, promised to send Vitthal- 
pant back as soon as he returned to Benares. Accordingly, 
when he came to Benares, he sent Vitthalpant to Alandl with 
remonstrations and expostulations to first have progeny from 
his wife Rakhumabai by becoming a Grihastha again. On 
his return back to the order of a Grihastha, Vitthalpant had 
from Rakhumabai four children in succession, all of them, it 
seems, born at Apegaon. The names of these were Nivritti- 
natha, Jnanadeva, Sopana and Muktabai. It is occasionally 
supposed that these names are merely allegorical representa- 
tions of the stages of an advancing mystic. But this is a delu- 
sion. The whole history of the four children, their actual 
doings on earth and the Samadhis they have left behind them, 
give the lie direct to the alleged allegory. The only question 
is about the dates of birth of these four children, and this we 
proceed to investigate. 

9. The determination of these dates is a matter of some 
difficulty, inasmuch as there are two 

. r , , different traditions about their dates. 

Jnanesvara Chronology. According to one> and the more usua i ly 

* ai I * ft accepted tradition, 

Nivrittinatha was born in 1273 A.D. (Sake 1195), and passed 

away in 1297 A.D. (Sake 1219) ; 

Jnanadeva was J),orn. in 1275 A.D. (Sake 1197), and passed 
~~away in 1296 A.D. (Sake 1218) ; 
Sopana was born in 1277 A.D. (Sake 1199), and passed away 

in 1296 A.D. (Sake 1218) ; 
Muktabai was born in 1279 A.D. (Sake 1201), and passed away 

in 1297 A.D. (Sake 1219). 
According to another tradition, the tradition given by 


Nivrittinatha was born in 1268 A.D. (Sake 11 90); 
Jnanadeva was born in 1271 AJ). (Sake 1193) ; 
Sopana was born in 1274 A.D. (Sake 1196) ; 
Muktabai was born in 1277 A.D. (Sake 1199). 
The matter of immediate interest to us is the determination 
of the two dates in the case of Jnanadeva. The one histori- 
cally accredited fact in his life is that he wrote the JnaneSvari 
in 1290 A.D. (Sake 1212). Even here there is another reading 
which tells us that Jnanadeva wrote the Jnanesvari in 1284 
A.D. (Sake 1206). But, on the whole, we may say that theife 
is a consensus of agreement in taking the date of the composi- 
tion of the J^njesvarl to . be J39JLA.D. (Sake 1212). This 
date, then, may be said to be a settled fact. As to how long 
lived prior to this date and how long after it, we 


can settle only approximately. To say that Jfianadeva was 
born in 1275 A.D. (Sake 1197) makes him only fifteen years 
old at the time of the composition of the JfianeSvari ; while 
to say that he was born in 1271 A.D. (Sake 1193) makes him 
nineteen years old at the time of the composition of the work. 
Now it does not seem humanly possible that Jfianadeva could 
have written his great work only when he was fifteen ; for a 
boy of nineteen years of age also to produce such an immortal 
work is a matter of no small difficulty. But if we were to choose 
between these two dates only, we had rather say that Jfiana- 
deva was nineteen years old, than that he was only fifteen, at 
the time of the composition of the work. If, then. Jfianadeva is 
to be taken as nineteen years of age at the time of the composi- 
tion of the Jfianesvarl, his birth-date must be fixed at 1271 
A.D. (Sake 1193). This is what Janabai actually tells us. She 
tells us that Jfianadeva was born in 1271 A.D. (Sake 1193), 
and that his brothers and sister were born correspondingly. 
The Abhanga runs as follows : - 

It must be remembered that even this Abhanga has got its 
variant readings, which suit the later chronology of the brothers 
and sister, but this does not end our difficulties. When did 
Jfianadeva pass away ? According to the tradition which re- 
gards Jfianadeva as born in 1275 A.D. (Sake 1197), he is made 
also to pass away in the year 1296 A.D. (Sake 1218). That 
Jfianadeva did actually pass away in the year 1296 A.I). (Sake 
1218) is attested to by the Abhangas of Namadeva, Visoba Khe- 
chara, Chokhamela and Janabai herself. If then, according to 
Janabai's Abhanga, Jfianadeva must be regarded as having 
passed away in the year 1296 A.D. (Sake 1218), we must adopt 
one of the three alternatives : either that Jfianadeva lived 
for twenty-five years from 1271 A.D. to 1296 A.D. (Sake 1193 
to 1218) a fact which contradicts the statement that is made 
by many men, and particularly by Jfianadeva himself, that he 
lived only for twenty-two years and that he passed away at 
twenty- two 4\<A&%\ aricfte ^r i ^rf%3t vrensqM ^ n, or else 
we must bring back the date of his passing away from 1296 
A.D. to 1293 A.D. (from Sake 1218 to 1215), if his life-span of 
twenty-two years is to be taken as an accredited fact. Hence 
we see that the determination of the dates of Jnanadeva's 
birth and passing away offers no small difficulty. This fact, 
however, remains certain that the JnaneSvari was written ill 


1290 A.D. (Sake 121 2) and that that was the central fact of 
his life. 

10. The other facts of Jnanadeva's life may briefly be 

told. Jiiaiiadeva along with his brothers 

The Life-Story of ar *d sister, Nivritti, Sopana and Mukta- 

Jnanadeva. bai, was the ofl'spring of a saint turned 

house-holder. That brought no small 
calumny from the orthodox society on these children. The 
orthodox Brahmins refused to perform the thread ceremony 
of Jnanadeva and his brothers. Their father Vitthalpant 
took them to Nasik, where, in order to spend his life in hoty 
activity, he used every day to circumambulate the Brahmagiri 
near Tryambakesvara. Once, while he was taking all his 
children with him on a circular route, a tiger jumped upon 
them, and in great fear Vitthalpant and his children began 
to run away. Vitthalpant along with Jnanadeva, Sopana 
and Muktabai was able to return home, but Nivrittinatha 
was missing. As Nivrittinatha was separated from his father 
and brothers, he went to a cave in Brahmagiri, where it is 
reported that he met Gaininatha, (who initiated him in the 
mystic line), and after a few days returned home. When Vi- 
tthalpant actually died we do not know. But it is evident, that 
after his death, Nivrittinatha initiated Jnanadeva. The social 
persecution was yet unabated. The four children, therefore, 
determined to go to Faithana to obtain a certificate of Suddhi 
from the Brahmins of Faithana, which was then regarded as a 
very orthodox centre. We do not know how much authenti- 
city to attach to the letter of Suddhi which Uemadapant 
and Bopadeva, the wise men of the day, were instrumental 
in giving to the four children. It seems that the Brahmins of 
Faithana must have been struck at the great spiritual learning 
and intelligence of these boys, and that, therefore, they gave 
them the required certificate of purification. This incident 
is supposed to have happened in 1287 A.D. (Sake 109). After 
obtaining the certificate of purification, Jnanadeva returned 
along with his brothers and sister and went to Nevase, where 
by his spiritual power he saved Sacchidananda Bajba from a 
dangerous illness. r lhis rescue filled Sacchidananda jc^ba with 
a sense of deep gratitude, and he became a very willhv j e ' mnu- 
ensis for the writing of Jnanadeva's great work, the Jfi^ ei 7varl, 
which was completed by Jnanadeva at Nevase. A pilla n ? u ^ till 
shown at Nevase where this writing took place. In the ?,J .*\s- 
vari, Jnanadeva imagines that Nivrittinatha is sitting t ar1 ^. 
the discourse, and that he is expounding the discourse JP^n 
assembly of learned men and saints. Tradition also has it 


that Nivrittinatha, not being satisfied with the Jnane^vari 
which is merely a commentary on the Bhagavadgita, ordered 
Jnanadeva to write an independent treatise (later known as 
the Amritanubhava), which Jnanadeva accordingly wrote. It 
seems that Nivrittinatha and Jnanadeva, along with Sopana 
and Muktabai, later visited Pandharapur. It was this visit 
to Pandharapur about 1293 A.U. (Sake 1215), which made 
Jnanadeva and Namadeva spiritual friends, which filled 
Jnanadeva with an enthusiasm for the Pandhari Sarnpradaya, 
of which he later became the first apostle. Jnanadeva and 
Namadeva thereupon have been reported to have wandered 
throughout the length and breadth of Tipper India. They 
went from Pandharapur by the Karhada road, which is yet 
to be seen at Pandharapur, and then it is said that they went 
to Delhi and Benares and other places. After having finished 
the holy places, where they must have met and initiated a 
number of men into the line of tJie Saints, they returned to 
Pandharapur, probably about 129r> A.D. (Sake 1218) on the 
eleventh day of the bright half of the month of Karttika, at 
the time of the great festival. After having finished the 
ceremony at Pandharapur on the full-moon day, Jnanadeva 
manifested a desire to Namadeva to go to Aland!, for he said 
he wanted to pass away from this world. Namadeva, along 
with a number of other great spiritual men, accompanied 
Jnanadeva and his brothers and sister from Pandharapur to 
Aland!, whereon the eleventh day of the dark half of Karttika, 
they kept awake the whole of the night, performing devotions 
to God. They filled the whole air with spiritual Kirtanas. 
Having spent the twelfth day of the month in that manner, 
Jnanadeva told Nivrittinatha on the thirteenth day that he 
would pass away that day. We are told in an Abhanga 
which is attributed to Jnanadeva himself that Jnanadeva 
sat performing Kirtana and meditating on God, and that he 
passed away in that state : 


Nivritt^ c ttha placed a slab on the Samaclhi of Jnanesvara. 
ylent happened before the temple of Siddhesvara in 
pi/hich is to be seen even to-day. The temple contains 
of Siva, and it seems Jnanadeva took Samadhi 
J^see f that temple. The temple of Siddhesvara cannot itself 
Hh an| am ^hi erected over the bones of another saint- a saint 
named Siddhesvara. It seems probable that it is a temple 
dedicated to God Siva and called the Siddhesvara temple. 


The face of Jnanadeva's Samadhi must have been in the direc- 
tion of the temple of Siddhesvara, that is to say, to the west. 
This is a contrast with the description which Jnanadeva has 
given in the Jnanesvari that a mystic must pass off with his 
face turned towards the north. In any case, if (!od is both 
to the north and to the west, it matters not in what direction 
a mystic turns his face at the time of his death. Tt was even 
so with Jnanadeva. That he took Samadhi before the temple 
of Siddhesvara, is an undoubted fact. That this temple of 
Siddhesvara had been a place of pilgrimage long before Jnana- 
deva, is also established. That there was even the worship 
of Vitthala in Aland! long before Jnanadeva was born a fact 
which we shall allude to somewhat later is also established. 
Thus did happen that great incident : Jiianadeva passed off 
at Aland!, making Alandl one of the greatest places of 
pilgrimage on earth. 

11. The four great works of Jnanadeva are the Jnanesvari, 

the Amritanubhava, the Abhangas, and 

The Works of the Changadeva Pasashti. Now nobody 

Jnanadeva. has doubted that the Jnanesvari and the 

Amutanubhava are from the same pen. 
The language, the ideas, and the vocabulary are so similar 
that they may be easily recognized as having come from the 
same pen. Tf ; for example, in the Jnanesvari XVII. 3, J.lilna- 
deva praises Nivrittiuatha as being superior to Clod Siva srmr% 
T%Wi ^feioSf i g^c^ ?tfe arrirar, in the Amritanubhava likewise, 
he tells us that even Siva asks an omen from Nivrittinatha 
T%^ 3^ g% i *RT 3) feu ft. But some doubt has been thrown 
upon whether the Abhangas and the Ohangadeva Pasashti 
should be attributed to the same writer. As we shall see later, 
we have justification enough to say that they come from the 
same pen. As to whether, however, the Amritanubhava 
was written after the Jiiane&vari or before it, opinions difl'er. 
According to one opinion, the Amritanubhava, even though 
an independent work, does not possess that high-flown 
philosophical and mystical sentiment which is the characteristic 
of the Jnanesvari, which, for that reason, is to be regarded 
as a later production. Prof. Patwardhan, for example, says 
that " the language, the vocabulary, and the imagery in 
the Amritanubhava are so scanty, poor, and monotonous as 
compared with that in the Jnanadev! that it may safely be 
concluded that the Amritanubhava preceded the Jnanesvari." 
On the other hand, there is a direct referonce in the Amri- 
tanubhava to the treatment of a certain problem in the 
Jnanesvari, which makes the Amritanubhava appear to come 


later than the Jnanesvari. For example, when in the Arnrita- 
nubhava, Jnanadeva says ^fSf^ffr^t ^ii i ^TRqrT^fi ^TY^ST ,* 
srrft% | ft^w i srf ^ \\ that omniscient Being of Vaikuntha 
has described at length how a man is tied by the Sattva 
quality with the rope of knowledge which, as readers of the 
Jnanesvari are aware, is a direct reference to the treatment 
of the problem in that work on the verse in the Bhagavadgita 
g^raFR T^nfir jFnafar 'sirra (XIV. 6), we have to suppose that 
the Amritanubhava must have been written later than the 

12. As regards the style of the Jiianesvari, there rarely 

has been even in other languages another 

The Style of work which shows the same flights of 

Jnanesvari. imagination that Jnanadeva shows in 

his Jnanesvari. The employment of ana- 
logy at every step in the exposition of any philosophical 
problem was the most characteristic method in Jnanadeva's 
time. Wide world-experience is evinced by Jnanadeva at every 
step : it is really wonderful how at the young age of fifteen or 
nineteen, such a work should have been composed. Whence 
could the author have acquired such a vast experience of the 
world ? The treatment of any problem in the Jnanesvari is 
so lucid, so penetrating, and so full of the fervour of spiritual 
experience that every reader of it is forced to admit its claim 
to be regarded as the greatest work in the Marathi language 
ever written. The Ovi which Jnanadeva employs is a form of 
the Abhanga itself. In fact, it is from Jnanadeva's Ovi that 
the Abhanga metre later sprang up. The Ovi of Jiianadeva, 
however, differs from the Ovi of Ekanatha, inasmuch as the 
one contains three lines and a half, and the other contains four 
lines and a half. But Jnanadeva's Ovi is incomparable. As 
Prof. Patwardhan says : " With Jfianadeva the Ovi trips, it 
gallops, it dances, it whirls, it ambles, it trots, it runs, it takes 
long leaps or short jumps, it halts or sweeps along, evolves a 
hundred and one graces of movement at the master's command. 
In the music of sound too it reveals a, mysterious capacity 
of manifold evolution. The thrill, the quiver, the thunder, 
the bellow, the murmur, the grumble in fact, every shade 
of sound it wields when occasion demands. It is an instru- 
ment that he has only to touch, and it responds to any key 
high or low, and to any note and tune." As regards the 
literary value of the work as a whole, we cannot do better 
than quote the same learned Professor once again : " The 
Jnanadevi is from the literary side so exquisite, so beautiful, 
so highly poetic in its metaphors and comparisons, similes 


and analogical illustrations, so perspicuous and lucid in style, 
so rich in fantasy, so delightful in its imagery, so lofty in its 
flights, so sublime in tone, so melodious in word-music, so 
original in its conceits, so pure in taste ...... that, notwith- 

standing the profundity, the recondite nature of the subject, 
and the inevitable limitations attendant upon the circum- 
stance that the author's main object was to make the original 
intelligible, rather than add anything new, the reader is simply 
fascinated, floats rapturously on the crest of the flow, and is 
lost in the cadence of the rhythm and the sweet insinuating 
harmonies, till all is thanks-giving and thought is not." 
13. As regards the text of the Jfianesvarl, we have to note 

that even though the actual text dictated 

The History of the to Sacchidananda Baba is not available, 

Text of the Jnanesvari. we have a very close approximation to it 

in the redaction of the original Jnanesvari 
which Ekanatha undertook in 1584 A.D. (Sake 1506). The 
incident of the redaction runs as follows. Ekanatha, three 
hundred years later, once suffered very acutely from a throat 
disease. While lie was thus suffering, Jnanadeva appeared to 
him in a dream and told him that a root of the Ajana tree 
at Aland! had encircled his neck, and that, therefore, Eka- 
natha should go to Aland! to extricate it from his neck ; upon 
which, Kkanatha went to Aland! and did as he was directed. 
The Abhanga which Ekanatha composed at the time of the 
incident runs as follows : 

JcToSf I T^lp ^55 sT^TCT II H II 

f 11} II 

rc u v n 

<\ II 

We are told in this Abhanga that the way to the Samadhi of 
Jnanadeva was through a hole in the river. What we are at 
present shown in Aland! is the way of entrance to the inside 
of the Saniadhi of Jnanadeva underneath the image of 
a Bull, situated between the Samadhi of Jnanadeva and the 
Lingam of Siddhesvara. If, therefore, Jnanadeva entered by 
that hole, it seems that the waters of the Indrayani at that 
time were running near the temple, and that the temple was 
situated in the bed of the river. Anyhow Ekanatha entered 
by that hole, did as directed, and probably found inspiration 
for a revision of the Jnanesvari when he went to visit that 
great Saint's shrine. The work which Ekanatha accomplished 


for the Jnanesvarl is characterized by Mr. Bharadvaja as 
having consisted in "the omitting of some verses, the putting 
in of new verses, transforming old word-forms and substi- 
tuting new understandable forms". Now even though there 
might be some justification in saying that the language of 
Jnanesvaii was modernized by Ekanatha, it is not true that 
Ekanatha took liberty with the verses in the Jfianesvarl itself. 
From a remark which Ekanatha has himself left to us to the 
effect that anybody who would tamper with the text of the 
Jfianesvarl by substituting any new verses "would be merely 
putting a cocoanut-shell in a disc of nectar ', it seems that Eka- 
natha neither omitted any verses nor put in any new verses, 
but that he only modernized the text and made it accord with 
the idiom of his time. It is for this reason that Ekanatha's 
redaction of the Jiianesvaii lias been accepted as authorita- 
tive during the whole of the last three centuries. r l he edition 
which Rajavade has recently published consists of eighty-eight 
hundred ninety-six (8890) verses ; while Kkaiiatha's edition 
consists of exactly nine thousand (000) verses. Rajavade claims 
that his edition is even older than that which Ekanatha found 
and used for preparing a correct text of the Jiiaiiesvari in his 
time. Another attempt was being made by Mr. Madagaonkar 
for bringing to light what he regarded to be the only correct 
text of that work. Unfortunately this work has not seen the 
light of day, although Madagaonkar's earlier edition of the 
JnanadevI, which does not differ materially from the text 
of Ekanatha, is available. As to the actual text Ekanatha 
used for the improvement of the Jfianesvarl, we have not yet 
material enough to judge ; but let us hope that during the 
course of time some new discoveries may enable us to see what 
text Ekanatha himself used, so that by collating all the early 
texts available, we may approximate as much as possible to 
the, original text of the Jfianesvarl. 
14 When we come to the consideration of Jfianesvara's 

Abhangas, we are landed into a problem 

The Problem of two which has become the crux of Jnana- 

Jnanadevas. deva scholarship during the last half 

century. Bharadvaja wrote certain arti- 
cles in which he tried to prove that the Jfianadeva of the 
Abhangas was not the same as the Jilanadeva of the Jnanes- 
vari, or the Amritanubhava. He urges that the author of the 
Jfianesvarl lived and died in Apegaon ; arid that he was a 
Saiva and not a follower of the I'andhar! Hampradaya. On 
the other hand, the author of the Abhangas lived and died 
in Aland! ; he was under Mahanubhavic influence, and yet 


was a devotee of Pandhari. The arguments which he adduces 
for his position are as follows : 

(1) The style, the language and the ideas of the Abhan- 
gas and of the Jnanesvari are profoundly different. 

(2) That the Abhangas contain only Vitthala worship, 
and that there is no mention of Vitthala, or Vitthala 
Sampradaya, in the Jnanesvari. 

(3) That in Apegaon there are two Samadhis joined 
together, one of which may be said to be that of 
Jnanadeva ; and that in the records of the Kulkarni 
of that place, we find the entry that a certain land 
has been dedicated to this Samadhi of Jnanadeva : 
"*TR^n% *nrNft^". Let us consider carefully what 
validity there is for these arguments. 

15. The main platform of the contention, that the Jnana- 
deva of the Abhangas and the Jnanadeva 
The Linguistic and of the Jfianesvari are different, is that 
Ideological Similarity there is no linguistic or ideological simi- 
of the Jnanesvari and larity between the Abhangas and the 
the Abhangas. Jfianesvari. This is entirely a mis-coii- 

ception. The fact that the Abhangas now 
appear to be in a simpler dress than the Jnanesvari is due 
to their having been committed to memory for six centuries 
past, and then reproduced through memory. This should 
account for the comparative modernness of the style of the 
Abhangas. It is for this reason that we might even say that 
the Amritanubhava looks older than the Jnanesvari, because 
the Amritanubhava is not so much reproduced or memorized 
as the Jnanesvari itself. This argument from the modernity 
of style has not been carefully made. When Prof. Patwardhan 
makes mention of the fact that there is no linguistic similarity 
between the Abhangas and the Jnanesvari, he forgets the 
entire repertory of old worlds which we find in the Abhangas 
as in the Jnanesvari. r Jhus, for example, the words *rr?%fe% 
i%5&, TicTsrTR, sfNRsrr, wtfe, $sft, TOSTST, ^fa^ret and a host of 
others are common both to the Abhangas and the Jfianesvari. 
He must be a bold man who says that the Abhangas do not 
contain the peculiar vocabulary of the Jnanesvari. The fact 
that in the Abhangas many words do not appear with the 
same case-terminations as in the Jnanesvari is due to the 
clothing which these words assumed in course of time 
having been reproduced from memory. But if we go to the 
root-words, we shall find that there is a great deal of identity 
between the Abhangas and the Jnanesvari. Nor does the 
argument from lesser brilliance of the Abhangas in point 


of ideas as compared with the Jnanesvari hold much water. 
We have no hesitation in saying that the Abhangas are 
as brilliant in ideas, if not even more, than the Jnane- 
svari. They bespeak the very heart of Jilaiiadeva. The 
Abhangas are the emotional garb of Jiianadeva ; the Jna- 
nesvari is an intellectual garb ; and thus we see the heart 
of Jrianadeva, his personal experience, and his outlook upon 
the world depicted even more adequately in the Abhangas 
than in the Jnanesvarl. To add to this, we have to consider 
how very similar in ideology the Abhangas and the Jnane- 
svari are. 'I he Abhanga *?wnRc5 ^fta, g^rer Tft^g, 3T^^Tt *w 
is entirely reminiscent of a famous passage from the Jilanesvaii. 
The Abhanga mw *T*rqr3f 3&faT '-rite? *ri*r is reminiscent of a simi- 
lar passage in the 12th Chapter of the Jnanesvarl. The 
Abhanga ^cTcf^cia^Sf is reminiscent of a similar passage in the 
ninth Chapter of the Jnanesvarl. The Abhanga tf? ^ 
i <fa Iw Trsft <nf r vrf^fcfl traf, as well as the Abhanga 


ttoT ll puts us wholly in mind of similar passages in the 
Jiianesvarl. The Abhanga f^sra Ttf ?r ji^f i % ^cff^r g^lt calls 
our mind to a passage from the JBanesvarl XVIII tre 
?wS arrow *$ \ % ^cTF^ TTf err I%tf$f iu r J here is an ideological 
similarity not merely between the Abhangas and the Jiiane- 
svari, but between the Abhangas and the Amritiinubhava 
itself. The Abhanga ^RCSI^I *TC[ i ^nfisft ^fcS^R is entirely 
reminiscent of the Amritanubhava. The Abhanga ra^ft 
3F^ft i f^^T^r ^ snft 

ll ?fR^ Sl^r ftrar crf% ^rr% ll as well as the Abhanga 
?m %sf ^f% ^TT% i ^nfcrf ^f% ^^\ ?fTCf II are an identification 
Amritanubhava-wise of Siva and Sakti. Also the whole 
Abhanga ^rf f ^ ^ft$r % gsft ^r i ^ff f sr^sft ^f ^i 
g;sf ^7 i ^nr^r^r fcrs^ TIT *rr ^TT n ^gfcr cr <j?fr R^F i 
iftfqftr II recalls similar utterances from the Amritanubhava. 
After a careful study of this extreme similarity of ideas 
between the Abhangas and the Jnanesvarl on the one hand, 
and the Abhangas and the Amiitanubhava on the other, 
nobody will dare to say that they are not from the same pen. 
16. As regards the question that there is no mention of 
Vitthala and the Yittliala ftampradaya in 
Vitthala-Bhakti the Jnanesvarl and that in the Abhangas 
in the Jnanesvari. Vitthala alone is mentioned, we might 
remember that one most significant fact 
has escaped the attention of the students of Jnanesvari 
till now. In the twelfth Chapter of the Jnanesvari from 


verse 214 downwards we have a reference to the image of 
Vitthala holding the Lingam of Siva on the head. The fact 
that the image of Vitthala at Fancjharapur was said to have 
held over its head the Lingam of Siva is attested to both by 
Nivrittinatha, and later by Ramadasa. We read in one of 
the Abhangas of Nivrittinatha gsfa^ *TR?r wfom 3T*rff I w$ 
WT<i ^H ^i*ft i ft*3flfscT ftre arrm^T t^t'r i tfwKfttr Wf stfr n arid 
also in Ramadasa f^r ftift itf&si ^TCRT n. The passage from 
the Jfianesvarl, to which we invite attention, and where there 
seems to be a direct reference to Vitthala as holding the 
Lingam of Siva on the head, is as follows :-- 

\ n 

fr^rf i ^TK 5T% n jr^T^ntt | ^RT i 
i ST!PT ?ft ^Tf i ftrtf cr^ n (^TT. XII. 214--218.) 
This is as much as to say that Siva who was the greatest 
devotee of Vishiju was himself held aloft on his head by 
Vishnu in the form of Vitthala. Now as no other image of 
Vishnu has been known to have held the Lingam of Siva on 
its head, there is an unmistakable reference here to the image of 
Vitthala at Pandharpur which bears the Lingani of Siva on its 
head. To add to this, we must remember that Vitthala-Bhakti 
was prevalent even in Aland! about seventy years before the 
birth of Jnanadeva. There is an inscription in the llatha 
of Hariharendra Swami dated 1209 AD. (Sake 1131), that is, 
nearly seventy years before the birth of Jiiaiiadeva, where 
the images of both Vitthala and Rakhumai are carved on a 
stone-slab on the pedestal of the Samadhi. This is the earliest 
reference hitherto found to the prevalent Vitthala Sampra- 
daya even in Aland!. Moreover, we cannot say that the 
references to Krishna and Vishnu in the Jfianesvarl are 
not references to Vitthala. To Jfiaiiadcva as to other devo- 
tees of Pandhari, Vitthala and Krishna are identical. This 
fact is also symbolized by Rakhumai who was the wife of 
Krishna in his former incarnation being also the wife of 
Vitthala, by the Gopalapura, by the cowherd's and the cow's 
foot-prints in the sands of the Bhlma being all reminiscences 
of the Krishna incarnation. In the Jfianesvarl we have a 
reference to Krishna and Vishnu in a very famous passage 
15^1 T%^S fit 'tri^ i qr wn% f?n%^ srsfa i *ri5fr 3?re*w^ PrtR i s^? 
*TTcfr (Jfianesvarl, IX. 210). Nor can we say that there is no 
mention of the Sampradaya of Vitthala-Bhakti in the 
Jfianesvarl. Though the word Vitthala may not have been 
mentioned, the word Santa which is amply indicative of the 


Vitthala Sampradaya is mentioned very often : 
&r"s*rafi *q* \ ii (Jna., XVII I. 1356), mft 
(Jna., 18), ^iR^r i*r g*r m ^to&rftfcr STR^T i | qtfft sfr 
f^nfrf^t (Jna., Xll). This last reference to the Santas unmis- 
takably points out that Nivrittinatha had taught Jnanesvara 
to respect the Santas. Now Santa is almost a technical word 
in the Vitthala Sampradaya. and means any man who is a 
follower of that Sampradaya. Not that the followers of other 
Sampradayas are not Santas, but the followers of the Varakarl 
Sampradaya are Santas par excellence. Also Jiianadcva makes 
unmistakable reference to the Kirtana method of the popu- 
larization of Bhakti, which is also peculiarly indicative of 
Vitthala Sampradaya : qJraRi^fr *ICTT% i ?n%^ sqwq SRrf^rire i 
3r ^fafo ^[fi <?I<TT% I ^f %3 II. From all these references it is 
evident that we cannot say that Vitthala or Vitthala-Bhakti 
is not referred to in the Jnanesvari itself. Jnanadeva was 
a very broad-minded and liberal mystic, and to him Saivism 
and Vaishnavism were identical, not to speak of the different 
kinds of Bha-kti in Vaishnavism itself. If Jnanadeva regards 
even the Lingam of Siva as worthy of being worshipped 
along with any image of Vishnu, we cannot say that he made 
a hard and fast distinction between the worship of Krishna, 
and the worship of Vitthala. In the seventeenth Chapter of 
the Jiianesvari in the 204th verse, we read f&T ^r sifcWT fe2ir> 
which implies according to the author that the Lingam or an 
image of God may be promiscuously worshipped by a devotee. 
Also in the Jiianesvari, XVII. 223, we read that God may 
be meditated upon either by the Saivite name or by the 
Vaishnavite name : ^Tctft ^j^ ^ i %fo %<* ^f m \ 31% & % 
qfR^r i flT 3fTimt I! (Jna., 223). We have further a reference 
to the Atmalinga : gsfr SIFT ^5r i cf snc^f^M ftm, not to 
mention the famous reference to Adhyatma-linga in the 
Jiianesvari itself. All these facts unmistakably point out that 
even in the Jnanesvari, Jnanadeva regarded Saivism and 
Vaishnavism as of equal count. This same fact is also 
attested to in the very famous Abhangas of Jnanadeva where 
the Lingam or the Atmalinga has been described with great 
mystic fervour. We thus see that both in the Jnanesvari and 
in the Abhangas we have a mention of the worship of the 
Lingam as on a par with the worship of either Krishna or 
Vitthala. It matters not to Jnanadeva what deity one wor- 
ships, provided one worships rightly and earnestly. The fact 
that he took Samadhi before Siddhesvara, or that Siva occu- 
pies a prominent part in the Amritanubhava, is not indica- 
tive of Jnanadeva's exclusive partisanship to Siva worship. 


17. It has been contended that there is a Samadhi of 
Jnanadeva at Apegaon, and that there 
The Samadhi at Ape- is a piece of land made over to that 
gaon and the Samadhi Samadhi as recorded in the I) a f tars 
at Aland! . of the Kulkarni of Apegaon. The whole 

history of the existence of the two 
Samadhis at Apegaon, one of which is said to be Jnanadeva's, 
is as follows. There is a joint Samadhi probably erected in 
honour of two different persons, as there are two different 
sets of Padukas on the Samadhi. There are images of Vitthala 
and Rakhumai behind the Samadhi. Ihere are two Utsavas 
of that joint Samadhi ; one from Vaisakha Vadya 10 to Jyesh- 
tha Suddha 1 and the other from Karttika Vadya 12 to 13 ; 
of these the more important is the first. It seems probable 
that one of the Samadhis is erected in honour of. an ancestor 
of Jnanadeva, probably Tryambakapant. Muktabai tells 
us that Tryambakapant had such a Samadhi in Apegaon : 
*TTR *zFfw^ *jos 5^r antff i ^n^T *WTI% arftirff n. The question is 
in whose honour the second Samadhi is erected, or the second 
Utsava is made. The probability is that the second Samadhi 
belongs to Vitthalapant, or it may even be an imitation Samadhi 
of Jnanadeva. It is not uncustomary among the Hindus to 
erect many different Samadhis in honour of the same person at 
different places, though the original and the most important 
Samadhi may be at one central place only. Kven as there 
are Samadhis of Jnanadeva at Nanaja and at Pusesavall 
in the Satara District, it is very likely that the residents of 
Apegaon may have erected a Samadhi to Jnanadeva at his 
native place, in order to commemorate the fact of his being 
a resident of that place. Tf it be contended that there is an 
Inam land made over to the Samadhi of Jnanadeva at 
Apegaon, it must also be remembered that there are an in- 
finite number of Tiiani lands made over to the Samadhi of 
Jnanadeva at Aland!. A very important fact which goes 
against the identification of the second Samadhi at Apegaon 
as that of Jfianadeva, who ex liypothesi was a Saiva, is that 
there are images of Vitthala and Rakhumai behind the 
Samadhi at Apegaon. If it were true that the author of 
the Jnanesvari was only a Saiva, no images of Vitthala and 
Rakhumai could have been erected behind his Samadhi. On 
the other hand, on this hypothesis, the Jnanadeva of Alaridl 
whose Samadhi is before the Lingam of Siva, must himself 
be regarded for that reason as the author of the Jnanesvari. 
The Utsava that is performed at Apegaon on Karttika Vadya 
12 and 13 must be merely " in memory of" the Samadhi of 


the great saint at Aland!. Just as a saint's Punyatithi may be 
performed wherever his disciples are, similarly even here, 
the Punyatithi of Jnanadeva, even though he took Samadhi 
at Aland!, may have been customarily performed at Apegaon. 
It is evident thus that we need not postulate two difterent 
Jnanadevas, one the author of the Jiiane&vari, and the other, 
the author of the Abhangas. If this were a fact, we would 
have to understand that there are two Mvrittinathas also : 
one the Nivrittiriatha of the Jilane6varl, and the other the 
Nivrittinatha of the Abhangas. It would thus follow that 
two Jnanadevas were born in two different centuries, but in 
the same place, namely, Apegaon ; that they had brothers of 
the same name, namely, Nivrittinatha ; that their Samadhis 
were in two different places, one at Apegaon, and the other at 
Aland! ; and most extraordinarily that the dates of the two 
Samadhis were so coincidently one, that the two different 
Utsavas of the two different Jnanadevas were performed on 
the same day ! Moreover, we must remember that the tradi- 
tion of two different Jnanadevas is entirely unknown to 
Namadeva, Gora Kumbhara, Janabai and other Saints. Eka- 
natha took the Jnanadeva of Aland! to be the real Jfiaiia- 
deva. The infinite number of pilgrims that have been visiting 
the shrine of the great saint at Aland! for the last six centuries 
are also evidence of the fact that the Jnanadeva of Aland! 
may be taken to be the real Jnanadeva, and that if there is 
a Samadhi at Apegaon, it must be regarded as merely an 
imitation or a memory Samadhi of Jnanadeva. For all these 
reasons it is evidently impossible to make a distinction be- 
tween the Saivite Jnanadeva of Apegaon of the thirteenth 
century, and the Varakari Jnanadeva of Aland! of the four- 
teenth century. The hypothesis is gratuitous, and nothing is 
gained and much is lost in the domain of Jnanesvara scholar- 
ship by that unwarranted hypothesis. 

18. As regards the dates of the Samadhis of the brothers 
and sister of Jnanadeva, we know that 

The Pasting away of very soon after the date of the Samadhi 
the Brothers and Sister of Jnanadeva, Sopana passed away first, 
of Jnanadeva. an( l then Muktabai, and last of all, ^Nivrit- 

tinatha. Sopana's Samadhi is at Sasavada. 
Muktabai's Samadhi is at Edalabada ; and Nivrittinatha's 
Samadhi is at Tryambakesvara. There is a beautiful story 
which tells us that Muktabai passed away in a flash of light- 
ning while performing a Kirtana. The story of the disap- 
pearance of Muktabai in the flash of lightning may have been 
due to such an Abhanga from Jnanadeva as follows : * 


%f%*JT 3fo<f I ftsj^RT ^ ^ffcS fTT^ II 

i ^^rei im? srt&flf n 


" The powder of pearls was thrown in the skies. There was a 
brilliant flash of lightning. The sky was clothed in beautiful 
purple. The brilliant blue point began to shine ....... A ser- 

pent's young one began to dance. In a dazzling thunder, 
the lightning disappeared in itself. Muktabai met Goroba. 
In that meeting, says Jnanadeva, Self-knowledge came to be 

19. Changadeva, who has been treated along with these 
four Saints, is a typical example of how 

The Personality of a man may take to the life of Hatha- 
Changadeva, yoga an d ultimately finding it barren 
of spiritual experience, may then take 
resort to the truly spiritual life. Tradition says that Changa- 
deva lived for fourteen hundred years, which evidently is an 
impossibility. The meaning of the statement may only be 
that there were different Changadevas of the same name, 
or there must be the same Changadeva who got different names 
in different places which he visited, or that it was a family 
appellation used by all. Niloba tells us in his Abhangas 
that there were fourteen different names of Changadeva, which 
might be a reason why Chungadeva may have been supposed 
to have lived for fourteen hundred years. It was not uncusto- 
mary in ancient times for a wise man to be known by different 
names. Atmarama, the biographer of Ramadasa, tells us in 
his Dasavisramadhama that Ramadasa was himself known as 
Vipra, Faklrajinda, Ramiramadasa and so on. Even so, 
it might be the case with Changadeva. Two of the names of 
Changadeva especially have been mentioned in the Changa- 
deva Pasashti : Vatesacluinga, and Chakrapamchaiiga, which 
two names then must be identified. Changadeva may have 
been known as Vatesachanga after the deity whom he wor- 
shipped. Jt seems that Changadeva may have acquired 
certain powers by means of his Hathayoga. But, when he 
met Jnanadeva and others, his arrogance disappeared, and he 
began to pine after spiritual life. The Changadeva Pasa- 
shti was composed by Jnanadeva just at this time. It 
embodies an Advaitic advice to Changadeva. We have 
shown later that the Changadeva Pasashti cannot be re- 
garded as a work of the Mahannbhava Chakradhara, whoin 


Chandorkar identifies with Chakrap&ni who is mentioned in 
the Changadeva Pasashti. The many similarities between 
the Changadeva Pasashti and other works of Jnanadeva point 
out unmistakably that the Changadeva Pasashti must have 
been written by Jfianadeva himself. Just as in the case of 
the Abhangas/ so even here, the similarities between the 
Changadeva Pasashti and other works of Jfianadeva are too 
numerous to be treated with unconcern. A writer has pointed 
out that for almost every sentence in the Changadeva Pasa- 
shti, we can find a parallel in the other works of Jnanadeva. 
It seems that Changadeva was initiated by Muktabai in the 
spiritual line. What Muktabai may have told Changadeva 
may be seen from the account of their meeting we have quoted 
at the end of the present part of the work. Changadeva 
died on the Godavarl in 1305 A.D. (Sake 1227), that is to say, 
some ten years after Jfianadeva, Muktabai, and others. He 
could very well say in pride that he was the culmination of 
the spiritual knowledge of Nivrittinatha, Jfianadeva, Sopana 
arid Muktabai. In a beautiful Abhanga Changadeva tells us 

f Rfr i 

^F f R 

qra: vrW? rrft 
f RTT i feR ^rf $t snff n 

" Jfianadeva drank to his fill the water of pearls ; Nivritti- 
iiatha caught in his hands the shade of the clouds ; Sopana 
decorated himself with the garland of fragrance ; Muktabai 
fed herself on cooked diamonds ; the secret of all four has come 
to my hands, says Ohangadeva." 

The Jnanesvari. 

1. Jnanesvara himself gives us the time and place of the 

composition of the Jnanesvari at the 

Place and Time of end of his work. He tells us that " in 

the Composition of the domain of Maharashtra, on the 

the Jnanesvari. southern bank of the Godavari, there is 

a temple of Mahalaya or Mohiniraja, 
famous through all the worlds, and the centre of the life-acti- 
vity of the world. There Ramachandra reigns, who is a des- 
cendant of Yadava lineage, the support of all arts and sciences, 
and a just ruler of the world. In his reign was the Gita dressed 
in the attire of Marathi by the disciple of Sri Nivrittinatha, 

who carries back his spiritual lineage to the God Mahesa 

This commentary was written by Jnanesvara * in the Saka 
year 1212, Sachhidananda Baba having served as a devout 
amanuensis'" (XVIII. 1803-1811). It seems from this that 
the Jnanesvari was written in the year 1290 A.D. 1 ill about 
three hundred years later the Jnanesvari was handed down in 
MS. form from generation to generation of spiritual aspirants, 
thus necessitating many changes of reading, and even accre- 
tions to and omissions from the original. It was not till 
Ekanatha took up the work of preparing an authenticated 
and careful text of the Jnanesvari in the Saka year 1512, 
corresponding to the- year 1590 A.D., that the new era of the 
study of the Jnanesvari might be said to have dawned. 
Ekanatha tells us with full respect for the author and his 
work, that he undertook to prepare a correct text of the Jna- 
nesvari, because, " even though the work was extremely 
accurate originally, still it had become spoilt by changes of 
reading during the interim". It seems that Ekanatha did 
not tamper with the text at all. He only judiciously substi- 
tuted correct readings here and there, and thus finally fashioned 
the work as we have it to-day. Anybody, who adds a verse 
to the text of the Jnanesvari, he says, would be thereby 
merely " placing a cocoanut-shell in a disc of nectar", imply- 
ing thereby that nobody should be bold enough to add to 
the incomparable text of the Jnanesvari. 

2. We also learn from. the epilogue to the Jnanesvari the 

spiritual lineage of JnaneSvara. We can- 
The Spiritual Line- not say that the account does not con- 
age of Jnanesvara. tain some mythological elements. Any 
spiritual lineage, which is carried back 
to a time where history and memory fail, is bound to suffer 


from such defects. We are told by JnaneSvara that " While 
the spiritual secret was being imparted by Sankara to Par- 
vati once upon a time, it caught the ear of Matsyendranatha, 
who was lying hidden in the bosom of a great fish in the ocean, 
Matsyendranatha met the broken-limbed Chauranginatha on 
the Saptasringa mountain, immediately upon which the latter 
became whole. Then, in order that he might enjoy undis- 
turbed repose, Matsyendranatha gave to Gorakshanatha the 
power of spreading spiritual knowledge. From Gorakshanatha, 
the spiritual secret of Sankara descended to Gairiinatha, who 
seeing that the world had come under the thraldom of evil, 
communicated it to Nivrittinatha with this charge * the spiri- 
tual secret, which has come down to us straight from the first 
teacher Sankara, take thou this, arid give succour to those 
who are afflicted with evil in this world/ Already compas- 
sionate as he was, with the super-added weight of this charge 
of his spiritual teacher, Nivrittinatha was as much encouraged 
to action as a cloud during the rainy season ; arid then, 
even like the latter, poured forth the stream of spiritual 
wisdom with the intention of bringing succour to the afflicted. 
Jnanesvara was merely like a Chataka bird catching a few 
drops of that gracious rain, which are herewith exhibited in 
the form of this commentary on the Bhagavadgita" (XVII 1. 
1751 1703). It is noticeable that Jnanesvara here gives an 
account of his spiritual lineage, bringing it down from the 
age of Sankara through Matsyendranatha and Gorakshanatha 
to Gaininatha and Nivrittinatha, of whom latter he was the 
immediate disciple. r Jhis account could be confirmed by 
references in other parts of Jnanesvara's writings, but coming 
as it does towards the end of his most important work, the 
Jfianesvari, the present reference has a value absolutely be- 
yond parallel. 

3. Jnanesvara is so much possessed by devotion to his 
Guru that he cannot but give vent to his 

Jnanesvara's Res- feelings for his master from time to time. 

pect for his Guru. In the first Chapter, he speaks of his 
master as having enabled him to cross the 
ocean of existence ; as when proper collyrium is administered 
to one's eyes, they are able to see anything whatsoever, and 
forthwith any hidden treasure ; as when the wish- jewel has 
come to hand, our desires are all fulfilled ; similarly in and 
through Nivrittinatha, says Jnanesvara, all his desires have 
been fulfilled. As when a tree is watered at the bottom, it 
goes out to the branches and the foliage ; as when a man 
ftas taken a bath in the sea, he may be said to have bathed. 


in all the holy waters of the world; as when nectar has 
once been enjoyed, all the flavours are forthwith enjoyed ; 
similarly, when the Guru has been worshipped, all the desires 
become fulfilled (I. 22-27). 

4. Jnanesvara tells us again in the sixth Chapter that 

what is difficult of comprehension even by 

The Grace of the intellect, one may be able to visualise 

Guru is competent by the light of the grace of Nivrittinatha. 

to all things. " That which the eye cannot see, he will 

be able to see without the eye, if only 
he gets super-consciousness ; that which the alchemists 
vainly seek after, may be found even in iron, provided the 
Parisa comes to hand ; similarly, where there is the grace of 
the Guru, what cannot be obtained, asks Jnanesvara ? He 
is rich with the infinite grace of his Guru ' (VI. , 3235). 

5. Moreover, Jnanesvara tells us that he cannot ade- 

quately praise the greatness of the Guru. 

The Power of the 1 s it possible, he asks, to add lustre 

Guru is indescribable, to the sun ? Is it possible to crown the 

Kalpataru with flowers ? Is it possible to 
add a scent to camphor ? How can the sandal tree be made 
more fragrant ? How can nectar be re-dressed for meals ? 

How can one add a hue to the pearl ? Or what 

is the propriety of giving a silver polish to gold ? It is 
better that one should remain silent, and silently bow to 
the feet of his master (X. 9 15). 

6. That the Guru is the sole absorbing topic of Jnanesva- 

ra's attention, may also be proved from the 

Invocations to the way in which he writes many a prologue 

Guru. to his various chapters addressed to the 

greatness of the Guru. Thus, for exam- 
ple, Chapters 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the Jnanesvarl all begin 
with an invocation to the grace of the Guru. In the begin- 
ning of the twelfth Chapter we read how Jnanesvara speaks 
of the gracious eye of his teacher, making poisonless the 
fangs of the serpent of sense. How is it possible, he asks, 
when the grace of the Guru comes down in floods, that the 
scorching heat of Samsara may continue to burn one with 
grief ? The grace of the Guru, like a true mother, rears up the 
spiritual aspirant on the lap. of the Adhara Sakti, and swings 
him to and fro in the cradle of the heart ; like a true mother, 
again, the grace of the Guru waves lights of spiritual illu- 
mination before the aspirant, and puts on him the ornaments 
of spiritual gold. The grace of the Guru again rears him on 
the milk of the 17th Kala, sounds the joy of the Anahata 


Nada, and puts him to sleep in ecstasy. A true lover of the 
Marathi language as he was, Jnane^vara finally calls upon the 
grace of his teacher to fill the domain of the Marathi language 
with the crop of spiritual knowledge (XII. 1 19). In the be- 
ginning of the thirteenth Chapter Jiianesvara speaks of the praise 
of his Guru as being the cause of the knowledge of all the scien- 
ces, and as so filling his own literary expression that even nectar 
might be eclipsed by its mellifluity (XI II. 1-5). In the begin- 
ning of the fourteenth Chapter he speaks of the vision of the Guru 
as eclipsing the appearance of the universe, and as making it 
appear only when it itself recedes in the background. As when 
the sun shines on the horizon, the moon fades away in the 
background, similarly when the Guru shines, all the sciences 
fade away. It is thus that the only adequate way of expressing 
one's appreciation of the greatness of the Guru is to submit 
in silence to the feet of the Guru, for the greatness of the Guru 
can never be adequately praised (XIV. 1- -10). Similarly 
at the beginning* of the fifteenth Chapter, Juanesvara speaks 
allegorically of the worship of his Guru. u Let me make my 
heart the seat for the Guru, and let me place upon it my 
Guru's feet. Let all my senses sing the chorus of unity, and 
throw upon the feet of the Guru a handful of flowers of 
praise. Let me apply to the feet of the Guru a fingerful of 
sandal ointment, made pure by the consideration of identity. 

Let me put upon his feet ornaments of spiritual gold 

Let me place upon them the eight- petalled flower of pure joy. 
Let me burn the essence of egoism, wave the lights of self- 
annihilation, and cling to the feet of the Guru with the 
feeling of absorption" (XV. 1-7). 

7. JnaneSvara is so full of respect for his teacher that 
he feels that any words of praise that may 

Nivrittinatha, id- issue out of him would fall short of the 
entitled with the Sun description of the true greatness of Ni- 
of Reality. vrittinatha. A poor man is so filled with 

delight by looking at an ocean, of nectar 
that he goes forth to make an offering to it of ordinary vege- 
tables. In that case, what is to be appraised is not the 
offering of the vegetables itself, but the spirit with which 
they are offered. When little lights are waved before God, 
who is an ocean of light, we have only to take into account 
the spirit in which the lights are waved. A child plays in all 
manner of ways with its mother, but the mother takes into 
account only the spirit in which the child is playing. If a 
small brook carries water to a river, does the river throw it 
out, simply because it comes from a brook ? It is thus that 


I approach thee with words of praise, says Jiiane6vara to 
Nivrittinatha, and if they are inadequate, it behoves thee 
only to forgive their puerile simplicity (XVI. 17 - 30). 

8. Jnancsvara is only too conscious of the fact that the 
work he has written is destined to be one of the greatest 

works of the world ; and yet he never 

The Humility of takes to himself the pride and the credit 

Jnanesvara. of its composition. We have already 

alluded to the fact that Jnanesvara re- 
ganjs himself as a Chataka bird, in whose up-turned opened 
bill, the cloud of Nivrittinatha \s grace sends down drops of 
rain. If a man is fortunate, says Jnanesvara, even sand can 

be turned into gold If it pleases God, even pebbles, 

put into boiled water, may turn out to be well-prepared rice. 
When the (Jura has accepted the disciple, the whole Samsara 
becomes full of joy In this very wise, was my own ignor- 
ance turned to knowledge by the grace of Nivrittinatha (XV. 
18-28). As Jnanesvara is mindful of the grace of his Guru 
in the composition of his work, even likewise is he only too 
cognisant of the fact that the other saints beside his own 
teacher have also had a share in its production. 'If you teach 
a parrot', he says to the Saints, 'will it not give out proper 

words at the right time ? This plant of spiritual wisdom 

has been sown by you, O Saints ! It now behoves you to 
rear it up by your considerate attention ; then, this plant 
will flower, and produce fruits of various kinds, and by your 

kindness, it will be a source of solace to the world Did 

not the plant-eating monkeys of the forest go forth to meet 
the hosts of the king of Lanka, simply because they were 
inspired by the Divine Power of Kama ? Was not Arjuna, 
though single-handed, able to conquer the vast hosts of his 
enemy by the power of Sri Krishna ? (XI. 1723.) Finally, 
Jnanesvara tells us how he is merely treading the path which 
was first treaded by the great Vyasa ; how he has been merely 
putting in the language of Marathi the great words of Vyasa. 
If God is pleased with the flowers of Vyasa, asks Jnanesvara, 
would he refuse the little Durvas that I may offer to him ? 
If large elephants come to the shores of an ocean, is a small 

swan prevented thereby from coming ? If the swan 

walks gracefully on earth, does it forbid any other creature 

from walking ? If the sky is mirrored in an ocean, could 

it be prevented from appearing in a small pond ? It is 

thus that 1 am trying to scent the path of Vyasa, taking the 
help of the commentators on my journey. Moreover, am 1 
not the disciple of Nivrittinatha. asks Jiiancsvara, whose 


power fills the earth, and both animate and inanimate exis- 
tence ? Is it not by his power that the moon tranquils the 
earth by her nectar-like light ? Does not his power fill the 
lustre of the Sun ? That Nivrittinatha inhabits my heart. 
It is thus that every new breath of mine is turning into a 
poem ; or what is not the grace of the Guru competent to 
do? (XVT1I. J 708 1735.) Jiianesvara feels himself to be 
merely an instrument in the hands of his Guru, to whose 
real authorship the whole of his work is due. 

I. Metaphysics. 

9. The Jnanesvari, being essentially an expositional work, 
follows the metaphysical lines laid down in 
The Prakrit! and the i* s prototype, the Bhagavadglta. Now as 
Purusha. the relation between the Prakriti and the 

Purusha forms one of the most important 
items of the metaphysics of the Bhagavadglta, it has also 
formed one of the foundation-stones of the metaphysics of 
the Jnanesvari. Jnanesvara reverts from time to time to the 
description of the Prakriti and the Purusha. In the ninth 
Chapter, he tells us how Atman is the eternal Spectator while 
Prakriti is the uniform Actor. It is said, says Jnanesvara, 
that a town is built by a king ; but does it forthwith follow 
that the king has constructed it with his own hands ? As the 
subjects of a town follow each his own profession, being all 
presided over by the king, similarly, the Prakriti does every- 
thing and stands in the background. When the full moon 
shines on the horizon, the ocean experiences a great flood ; 
but does it follow from this that the moon is put to any 
trouble ? A piece of iron moves merely on account of the 
vicinity of a magnet ; but the magnet itself does not suffer 

action As a lamp, placed in a corner, is the cause 

neither of action nor of non-action, similarly, I am the eternal 
spectator, while the beings follow each its own course (IX. 
1010 1029). In the thirteenth Chapter, Jnanesvara again 
takes up the problem of the relation of the Prakriti and the 
Purusha, and exhibits it by means of a variety of images. 
The Purusha, when he informs the body, undergoes the appel- 
lation of a self-conscious being. This consciousness is dis- 
played in the body from the very nails of the body to the 
hair of the head, and is the cause of the flowering of the mind 
and intellect, as the spring is the cause of flowering in the 

forest The king never knows his army, and yet simply 

by his order the army is able to overcome enemies By 


the simple presence of the Sun, all people go about doing 
their actions ; by simply looking at its young ones is the 
female tortoise able to nourish them ; in a similar manner, 
the simple presence of the Atman inside causes the move- 
ment of the inanimate body (XIII. 134141). The thir- 
teenth Chapter is the locus classicus of the description of the 
Prakrit! and the Purusha. In the Bhagavadgita, as in the 
Jfianesvari, the Prakrit! and the Purusha, we are told, are 
both of them co-born and co-eternal. The Purusha is synony- 
mous of existence, the Prakrit! of action. The Purusha 
enjoys both happiness and sorrow, emerging from the good 
and the bad actions of the Prakrit!. Uii-narneable indeed is 
the companionship of the Prakriti and the Purusha ; the 
female earns, and the male enjoys ; the female never comes 
into contact with the male, and yet the female is able to pro- 
duce. The Prakriti is bodiless, the Purusha is lame and older 

than the old The Prakriti takes on new shapes every 

moment, and is made up of form and qualities. She is able 

to move even the inanimate She is the mint of sound, 

the fount and source of all miraculous things ; both genera- 
tion and decay proceed from her ; she is verily the infatuating 
agent ; she is the being of the self-born being ; she is the form 
of the formless ; she is the quality of the quality-less, the eye 
of the eyeless, the ear of the earless, the feet of the feetless ; 
in her, indeed, is all the maleness of the other hidden, as the 
moon is hidden in the darkness of the night ; she exists in 
Him as milk in the udders of a cow, as fire in the wood, as a 
jewel-lamp inside a cover of cloth. The Purusha loses all his 
lustre as a vassal king, or as a diseased lion, or as one who 
is deliberately put to sleep and made to experience a dream ; 
as the face can produce its other in the presence of a mirror, 
or as a pebble acquires redness in the presence of saffron, 
similarly does this unborn Purusha acquire the touch of quali- 
ties. He stands in the midst of the Prakriti as a piece of wood 

stands motionless in the midst of the Jui plant He 

stands like the Meru on the banks of the river of the Prakfiti. 
He is mirrored inside her, but does not move like her. Prakriti 
comes and goes ; but he lives as he is. Hence is he the Eternal 
Kuler of the world (XIII. 9581224). Finally, Jnanesvara 
tells us that what the Samkhyas call Avyakta is the same 
as Prakriti. It is also what the Vedantins call Maya. Its 
nature is Ignorance the self-forgetfulness of the Self. "The 
Prakriti is verily my house-wife. She is beginningless, and 
young, of unspeakable qualities. Her form is Not-Being. 
She is near to those who are sleeping, but away from those 


who are waking. When 1 sleep, she awakes ; and by the 
enjoyment of my bare existence, she becomes big with creation. 
She produces a child from which come forth all the three 

worlds Brahma is the morning' of this child, Vishnu 

the mid-day, and Sankara the evening. The child plays 
till the time of the great conflagration, and then it sleeps 
calmly, and wakes up again at the time of a new cycle" (XIV. 
(58 117). 

10. Jnanesvara takes up also the problem of the Kshara, 
the Akshara and the Paxamatman, like 
The Mutable, the the problem of the Prakriti and the 
Immutable and the Purusha, from the Bhagavadgita itself, 
Transcendent. which does not make very clear the dis- 
tinction between the Kshara, the Akshara 
and the Paramatman. By Kshara is meant the Mutable, by 
Akshara the Immutable, and by Paramatman, somehow, the 
Being that transcends both. Now it is somewhat hard to 
understand in what sense the 'Transcendent Being could be 
distinguished from the Immutable; and yet Jnanesvara closely 
follows the Bhagavadgita in making a distinction between 
the Immutable and the Transcendent, and in making a Hege- 
lian synthesis of the Mutable and the Immutable into the 
Transcendent. In this world of !?amsara, says Jnanesvara, 
there are two Beings, just as in the heavens reign only light 
and darkness ; there is, however, a third Being who not suffer- 
ing both these previous Beings, eats them both One 

is blind and lame, the other is well-formed in all his limbs, 
and the two have come into contact with each other simply 
because they have come to inhabit the same citadel (XV. 
471 - 477). Of these the Mutable is Matter as well as Indi- 
vidual Spirit, the consciousness which is pent up inside the 
body. It is all that is small and great, moving and immov- 
able, whatever is apprehended by mind and intellect ; what 
takes on the elemental body ; what appears as name and 

form ; what suffers the reign of the qualities ; what we 

knew as the eight-fold Prakriti ; what we saw to be divided 
thirty-six-fold ; what we have immediately seen to be the 

Asvattha tree ; what seems an image of itself, like that 

of a lion in a well which forthwith springs upon itself in anger : 
what thus creates the citadel of form, and goes to sleep in 
entire obliviscence of its nature, thinking ' the father is 
mine, the mother is mine, 1 am white or deformed, the 

children, wealth, and wife are all mine 1 ; what appears 

as the flicker of the moonlight in a moving stream, and what 
thus on account of its connection with the Upadhis appears 


momentary (XV. 478501). The Akshara is what appears 
as the Meru in the midst of all the mountains ; what is abso- 
lutely formless, as when the ocean dries up, there remain 
neither any waves nor any water ; what appears as Ignorance 
when the world has set, and when the knowledge of Atman 
has not yet been gained ; what may be likened to the state of 
the moon without the slightest streak of light on the new- 
moon day ; what psychologically corresponds to the state 
of deep sleep ; as opposed to the Mutable Being that appears 

both in the wakeful and the dream states ; what may be 

regarded as the root of the tree of existence ; what does not 
change, nor is destroyed, and what is thus the best (XV. 502 
524). As opposed to both the Mutable and the Immutable is 
the Transcendent Being, in whom Ignorance is sunk in Know- 
ledge, and Knowledge extinguishes itself like fire; which appears 
as knowing without an object to be known ; \^hich is higher 
psychologically than the wakeful, the dream, or even the 
deep-sleep consciousness ; which transcends its own bounds 
like an ocean in floods, and which rolls together all rivulets 
and rivers as at the time of the final end ; which is the scent 
as intermediate between the nose and the flower ; which is 
Being ; which is beyond both the seer and the seen ; which 
is light without there being an object to be illumined ; which 
is ruler without there being anything to be ruled ; which is 
the sound of sound, the taste of taste, the joy of joy, the 

light of light, the void of voids ; which is like the Sun 

which does not appear either as night or as day (XV. 
520 556). 

11. When we strip our minds of all such metaphysical 

conceptions as those of the Prakriti and 
Body and Soul. the Purusha, or of the Kshara and the 

Akshara, what remains of psychological 
value is the relation of the body and the soul ; let us now 
see what Jfiiiiiesvara says about this relation. The body to 
Jnanesvara is simply a complex of the various elements. As a 
chariot is called a chariot, because it is a complex of the various 
limbs of the chariot ; as an army is called an army, because 
it is a complex of its various parts ; as a sentence is simply a 
complex of letters ; as a lamp is a complex of oil, wick, 
and fire ; similarly the body is a complex of the thirty-six 
elements (XIII. 151 15G). The Soul is as different from the 
body as the east from the west. The Soul is mirrored in the 
body as the sun in a lake. The body is subject to the influence 
of Karnian, and rolls on the wheels of death and birth. ,It is 
like a piece of butter thrown in the fire of death. It livea for 


as short a span of time as the fly takes for lifting its wings. 
Throw it in fire, and it is reduced to ashes ; give it to a dog, 
and it becomes carrion ; if it escapes either of these alternatives, 
it is reduced merely to a mass of worms. On the other 
hand, the Atman is pure and eternal and beginningless. He is 
the all, impartitionable, without any actions, neither short 
nor long, neither appearance nor non-appearance, neither 
light nor non -light, neither full nor empty, neither form nor 
formless, neither joy nor joyless, neither one nor many, 

neither bound nor absolved As day follows night and 

night follows day on the sky, similarly body follows body on 
the background of this Atman (XIII. 1095-1124). 
12. The doctrine of transmigration, which Jnanesvara 

teaches, is linked closely with the analysis 

Doctrine of of man's psychological qualities into the 

Transmigration. Sattvika, the Kajasa, and the Tamasa. 

Ihe Soul of a man, in whom the Sattva 
quality is augmented, meets a different fortune after death 
from one in whom either the l\ajas or the Tanias qualities 
are augmented. What, asks Jiiaiiesvara, happens when the 
Sattva quality is augmented ? The intellect of such a man so 
fills his being that it oozes out of him as fragrance out of the 
lotus petals. Discrimination fills all his senses ; his very hands 
and feet become endowed with vision ; as the royal swan can 
discriminate between water and milk, even so the senses of such 
a man can discriminate between the good and the bad. What 
must not be heard, the ear itself refuses to hear ; what must 
not be seen, the eye itself refuses to see ; what must not be 
spoken, the tongue itself refuses to speak ; as from before a flame 
darkness runs away, even so from him bad things run away ; 
as in flood-time, a great river flows round about, even so his 
intellect transcends its own limits in the knowledge of the 
sciences ; as on the full-moon day, the light of the moon 
spreads about, even so his intellect spreads about in know- 
ledge ; all his desires become centred in himself. A stop 
is put to his activities. His mind becomes disgusted with 
the objects of sense. When these qualities become aug- 
mented in a man, if he happens to meet his death at such 

a moment, his new being becomes as full of the Sattva 

quality as the old, and he takes on a birth among those who 
pursue knowledge for its own sake. When a king goes to a 
mountain, does his kingship forthwith diminish ? Or when a 
lamp is taken over to a neighbouring village, does it for that 
matter cease to be a lamp ? (XIV. 205222.) What happens 
when the Rajas quality predominates in a man * Such a man 


becomes over-occupied with his own work, and gives free 
reins to his senses, as a storm rolls hither arid thither ; 
his moral bonds become loosened as a sheep knows not the 
distinction between the good and the bad. Forthwith, such 
a man undertakes works which are unworthy of him. He 
takes into his head to build a great palace, or to perform 
a great Asvamedha ceremony ; to create new towns ; to 

build new tanks ; to foster large forests His desire 

gets such a mastery over him that he wishes to bring the whole 
world under his feet. When these qualities are augmented 
in a man, if he happens to meet death, he is bound to come 
over again to the human kind. Can a beggar, who lives in a 
king's palace, thereby become a king himself ? An ox must 
needs feed on stumps, even though he might be carried in the 
procession of a great king. Such a man's action knows no 
bounds, and he must be always yoked to his w,ork like an ox 
(XTV. 227243). What happens when the Tamas quality 
predominates in a man ? The mind of such a man becomes 
as full of darkness as the night on the new-moon, day ; he 
ceases to have any inspiration ; thought has no place in his 
mind ; his remembrance seems to have left him for good ; 
indiscrimination fills him through and through; folly reigns 
supreme in his heart ; he takes only to bad actions as the owl 
sees only at night ; things which are shunned, he hugs to his 
heart ; he becomes intoxicated without wine, raves without 
delirium, becomes infatuated like a madman without 
love ; his mind seems to have taken leave of him, and yet 

he is not enjoying the super-conscious state At such a 

time, if a man were to meet his doom, he is bound to come 
over again in the Tamas world. The fire, which is flamed, 

may be extinguished, but the flame continues as ever ; 

even so when Tamas is augmented, he becomes incarnate in 
a beast or a bird, a tree or a worm (XIV. 244- 260). 

13. As opposed to this transmigrating process, lies the 
state of Absolution reached only by the 

Personal and Im- select few who have gone beyond the 
personal Immortality: realm of the Sattva, Kajas and Tamas 
Re-incarnation an II- qualities, and who, by their devotion, 
lusion. have reached identity with God even 

during this life. About such persons 
Jnanesvara tells us that when they have gone to the End, 
they never return therefrom, as the rivers go to an Ocean from 
which they never return ; as when a puppet of salt becomes 
wholly absorbed in a vessel of water when it is put inside it, 
similarly those, who have reached unitive life with God by 


their superior knowledge, never return again when they have 
departed from this life. Arjuna, with his inquiring spirit, 
asks Krishna at this stage of the argument of Jnanesvara. 
" Do these, God, reach personal, or impersonal, immorta- 
lity ? Granted that they become one with God, and that they 
never return, do they preserve their individuality or not ? 
If they preserve a separate individuality, to say that they 
do not return is meaningless ; for the bees that reach a flower 
never become the flower itself ; and as the arrows after having 
reached the target come back again as arrows, even so may 
these individuals return from their final lutbitat. On the 
other hand, if there is no barrier between these individuals 
and God, what is the meaning of saying that these become 
merged in the other ? For they are already identical with 
Him. How can a weapon turn its edge against itself ? 
In this wise, beings which are identical with Thee, can never 
be said either to have merged in Thee or to have come buck 
from Thee." To this objection Krishna replies by saying 
that the ways in which these individuals return and do not 
return may be said to be different from each other. If we see 
with a discerning eye, says Krishna, then there is seen to be 
an absolute identity between the individuals and God. If, on 
the other hand, we look in a cursory way, it seems as if they 
are different also. It seems Krishna is here making a distinc- 
tion between the noumenal and the phenomenal points of view. 
The waves of an ocean seem different from the body of the 
ocean, and yet again are identical with it. The ornaments 
of gold seem different from gold, and yet are identical with it. 
Thus it happens, that from the point of view of knowledge, 
these individuals are identical with God ; it is the point of 
view of ignorance which regards them as different (XV. 317 
334). Fr^m this point of view it is only a step to regard 
reincarnation an illusion, and Jnanesvara in a passage boldly 
takes up the gauntlet. It is the human point of view which 
tells us, he says, that the Atman leaves the body, and takes 

away along with itself the whole company of the senses, 

as the setting Sun carries with him the visions of people, or 

as wind carries away the fragrance It is really the 

standpoint of indiscrimination which enables one to say so. 
That the Atman can re-incarnate, or can enjoy the objects 
of sense, or can depart from the body, is verily the standpoint 

of ignorance If a man is able to see his own reflection 

in a mirror, does it follow that the man did not exist previously 
before looking at the mirror ? Or if the mirror is taken away 
the image disappears, does it follow that the man himself 


ceases to be ? Even likewise we must remember that the 
Atman is always Atrnan, and the body the body. Those, who 
have got the vision of discrimination, see the Atman in this 
manner. If the sky with all its stars is mirrored in an ocean, 
the eye of discrimination regards it merely as a reflection, 
and not as having fallen bodily into the ocean from above. If a 
pond is filled and is dried up, the Sun remains as he was ; even 
so when body comes arid goes, the Atman remains identical with 
himself. He is neither increased nor decreased ; he is neither 
the cause of action nor the cause of non-action ; such verily is 
the vision of those who have known the Self (XV. 301- -390). 

14. Like the Prakriti and the Purusha, and the Kshara and 

the Akshara, the Asvattha itself figures 

Description of the largely in the Jiianesvari as in the 

Asvattha Tree. Bhagavadgita. Jnanesvara is at his best 

in his description of this Tree of Exis- 
tence. He gives a long description of this tree in its various 
aspects, and it behoves us to dwell a little at length upon its 
description. r l he purpose of the description of the Asvattha, 
says Jiianesvara, is to convince the readers of the unreality 
of this tree of existence, and thus to fill them with utter dis- 
passion. This tree is entirely unlike other trees, which have 
all of them roots going downwards and branches wending 
upwards. It is wonderful, says Jnanesvara, that this tree 
grows downwards. This tree fills all that exists, and all that 
does not exist, as the whole sky is filled with water at the 
time of the great End. There is neither any fruit of this 
tree, nor any taster of it ; neither any flower nor any smeller 
of it ; its root goes upwards, and yet it is impossible to up- 
root it (XV. 40-65). Jnanesvara then proceeds to explain 
what its upward root is, and how it germinates. The up- 
ward root of the tree is that Absolute Existence, which is sound 
without being heard ; which is fragrance without being scented ; 
which is joy without being experienced. What is behind it, 
is before it ; what is before it, is behind it ; which, itself 

unseen, sees without there being any object to be seen ; 

which is knowledge without being either knower or known 

which is neither product nor cause ; which is neither 

second nor single ; which is alone and to itself (XV. 72 79). 

15 . The power by which this root germinates is described by 

Jnanesvara as Maya, which emerges from 

How the Root Absolute Existence. What is called Maya 

germinates. is merely a synonym of non-existence. 

It is like the description of the children 

of a barren woman ; it is neither being nor not-being, and 


will not bear reflection for a moment ; it is the chest of 
difl'erent elements ; it is the sky on which the world-cloud 
appears ; it is a folded cloth of various forms ; it is the seed 
of the tree of existence ; it is the curtain on which appears 

Samsara ; it is the torch of aberrated knowledge ; 

it is as when a man may go to sound sleep in himself ; it is 
like the black soot on a lustrous lamp ; it is like the false 
awakening of a lover in his dream by his young beloved, who 
coaxes him and fills him with passion ; it is the igno- 
rance of self about self ; it is the sleep of ignorance, as con- 
trasted with the dream and the wakeful states (XV. 80 90). 

16. Thus we see that the Asvattha to Jnanesvara is the 

type of unreality. The reason why it 
Tbc Asvattha, the is called the Asvattha, is that it does 
Type of Unreality. not stand for the morrow. As a cloud 

may assume various colours in a moment, 
or as a flash of lightning has no duration, as water does 
not cling to a lotus leaf, or as an afflicted man's mind is 
full of change, similarly does this Asvattha tree change 

from moment to moment People do not see the coming 

into being and the passing away of this tree of existence, 
and hence they falsely call it eternal As cycle suc- 
ceeds cycle, or as a piece of bamboo succeeds another, or 
as a part of sugarcandy succeeds another part, as the year 
that goes is the cause of the year to come, as the water flows 
past and another quantum of water comes to take its place, 
similarly this tree of existence, though really non-existent, 
is yet vainly called real. As many things may take place 
within the twinkling of an eye ; as a wave is really unstatiou- 
ary ; as a single eye of the crow moves from socket to socket ; 

as a ring, which is made to whirl on the ground, seems 

as if to have stuck to it on account of its great speed ; as a 
beacon-light which is moved in a circular direction appears 
like a wheel ; even likewise, does this tree of existence come 
and go, and yet people call it eternal. It is only he who con- 
templates its infinite speed and knows it to be momentary, 

it is only such a man that may be regarded as having 

known the Real (XV. 110- 141). 

17. If the question be asked, "What it is that ultimately 

lops off this tree of existence ?- a tree 

The Knowledge of whose root is placed in the Eternal, and 

Unreality it the Cause whose branches move down in the world 

of its Destruction. of men, what it is that puts an end to 

this vast tree of existence", the answer 

is simple : to know that it is unreal is to be able to 


destory it altogether. A child may be frightened by a 
pseudo-demon ; but does the demon exist for the matter 
of it ? Can one really throw down the castle in the air ? Is 
it possible to break the horn of a hare ? Can we pluck the 
flowers in the skies ? The tree itself is unreal ; why then 
should we trouble about rooting it up ? It is like the infinite 
progeny of a barren woman. What is the use of talking 

about dream-things to a man who 1 is awake ? Can 

one rear crops on the waters of a mirage ? The tree itself is 
unreal, and to know that it is unreal is sufficient to destroy it 
(XV. 210-223). 

18 . And people vainly say that this tree has a beginning, 

an existence, and an end. Really speak- 
Thc Origin, the ing, it has neither come into being, nor 
Being, and the End of does it exist, nor has it really an end. 
the Tree of Existence. Can we cast the horoscope of the child 
of a barren woman ? Can blueness be 
predicated about the surface of the sky ? Can one really 
pluck the flowers in the skies ? The tree has neither any 
beginning nor any end. What appears to exist is equally 
unreal. A river has its source on a mountain, and moves 
on towards an ocean ; but this tree of existence is not 
like a real river. It is like a vain mirage, which appears, but 
which docs not exist. It is like a rainbow which appears 
to be of many colours, but in which the colours really do not 
exist ; it has really neither any beginning, nor any end, 

nor any existence This tree can be cut down only 

by self-knowledge. To go on lopping off the branches of 
this tree is a vain pursuit. We should lop off its very root 
by true knowledge. What is the use of collecting sticks for 
killing a rope-serpent ? Why apply balm to a dream-wound ? 
The tree of Ignorance can be lopped oft* only by Knowledge 
(XV. 224 254). 

19. In a sustained metaphor, Jnanesvara describes how it 

is possible for a spiritual aspirant to 
A Devout Meditation cross the flood of unreality. The stream 
on God enables one of Maya issuing out of the mountain of 
to cross the Flood of Brahman first shapes itself in the form 
Maya. of the elements. Then on account of 

the heavy showers of the qualities, the 
stream experiences a flood and carries off streamlets of re- 
strained virtues. In that flood there are whirlpools of hate 
and circles of jealousy. In it, huge fishes in the shape of 
errors swim to and fro. On the island of sexual enjoyment 
are thrown over waves of passion, and there many creatures 


appear to have come together. There are scarcely any path- 
ways through that great water ; and it seems impossible that 
the flood may ever be crossed. Is it not wonderful, asks 
Jnanesvara, that every attempt that is made for crossing 
this flood becomes only a hindrance in the path of crossing 
it ? Those, who are dependent upon their own intellects, try 
to swim over this flood, and no trace of them remains. Those 
who are given to over-self-consciousness, sink in 'the abyss 
of pride. Those, who try to cross this flood by means of the 
knowledge of the Vedas. hug to their heart huge pieces of 
stone, and go entirely into the mouth of the whale of arro- 
gance. Those, who clasp the chest of sacrifice, go only into 
the recesses of heaven, where no boat of dispassion is available, 
where no raft of discrimination is to be found, where what- 
ever else may be done becomes a hindrance. If the young one 
of a deer were to gnaw at a snare, or an ant to cross over 
the Meru, only then would people cross this stream of Maya. 
It is only those who are full of devotion to me, for whom the 
Guru acts as a steersman, and who take recourse to the raft 
of Self-realization, for such we may say the flood of Maya 
ceases to exist even before they have tried to cross it (XII. 
20. We are thus introduced to the central point in Jnanes- 

vara's mystical theology, namely, devo- 

God, the Central tion to God. Is it not wonderful, he 

Reality. asks, that people should keep repeating 

that there is no God, when God has 
filled this world in and out ? Is it not their misfortune that 
makes them say that God is not ? That one should fall in a 
well of nectar and yet try to rid himself out of it : what can 
we say about such a man except that he is unfortunate ? 
The blind man is moving from place to place for a single morsel 
of food, arid yet he is kicking aside with his foot the wish- 
jewel that has happened to come in his way, simply because 
in his blindness he cannot see it (IX. 300- 305). Jf these 
people were just to open their eyes a little, and look at Nature, 
they would soon find themselves convinced about God's exis- 
tence. Do they not see Omnipotence everywhere ? And must 
it not convince them about God's existence ? That the sky can 
envelop everything, or the wind move ceaselessly on. or that 
the fire should burn, or that rain should quench the ground ; 
that the mountains should not move from their places ; that 
the ocean must not over-reach its bounds ; that the earth 
must bear the burden of all creatures that are on its surface : 
is not all this clue to My Order ? The Vedas speak, when I 


make them speak ; the Sun moves, when I make him move ; 
the-Prana inhales and exhales, only when J communicate 
motion to it ; it is I, who move the world. It is on account 
of My order that death envelopes all. All these forces of 
nature are merely My bondsmen (IX. 280 285). All the 
names and forms that we see in the world are due to Me ; 
all things exist in Me as waves exist on the bosom of water ; 
and I am in all things as water in all waves. It is only him 
who submits unconditionally to Me that 1 relieve from the 
bonds of birth and death. I am the sole refuge of the suppli- 
cants. The Sun sends his image in an ocean as well as in a 
pond, irrespective of their greatness or smallness. Verily 
thus am I mirrored in all things (IX. 286- 290). Man vainly 
says that he is the agent, of actions. He forgets that-he is 
only an occasional cause. The army which is destined to be 
filled, is already killed by Me. They are like merely inani- 
mate puppets in a show. The dolls fall down in a confused 
fashion, as soon as the string that holds them together is 
taken away (XI. 466- 467). 

21. Granted that God exists as the supreme cause of all, 

how is He to be found out ? Can He 

Uselessness of be found by hunting after perishable 

Images and Anthropo- images ? No, says Jnanesvara. A man, 

morphism. whose eye is jaundiced, sees everything 

yellowish, even the moonlight. It is 

thus that in My pure form they see foibles. A man whose 

tongue is spoilt on account of fever, regards even milk as a 

bad poison. In this way, do they regard Me as a ' man', 

who am not a man. They take merely an external view 

of Me, which is the result of utter ignorance As a 

swan may throw itself into water by trying to catch hold of 
the reflected stars, thinking that they are jewels ; or as a 
man may gather cinders, thinking that they are precious 
stones ; or as a lion kills himself by throwing himself into a 
well against his own reflected image ; similarly, those who 
identify Myself with the world, or worldly objects, deceive 
themselves by pursuing an illusion. Is it possible for a man 
to get results of nectar by drinking barley-water ? Even like- 
wise, do people try to find Me in perishable images,, an3 tTms 
e^c^^"TSTy real' imperishable nature (IX. 142- 152). InjbKjs 
strain does Jnanesvara condemn all anthropomorphic views 
oFOpd. People attrlljute a. name to Me, who am nameless ; 
action to Me, who am actionless ; bodily functions to Me, 
who am bodiless ; they attribute a colour to Me, who am 
colourless ; quality to One, who is quality-less ; hands and 


feet to One, who is without them ; eyes and ears to the eyeless 
and earless ; family to the family-less ; form to the formless ; 
Me, who am without clothing, they try to put a clothing on ; 
they put ornaments on Me, who am beyond all ornaments ; 

they make Me, who am self-born ; they establish 

Me, who am self -established. Me who cannot come and go, 
they call upon and relinquish ; I am eternally self-made, 
and yet they regard Me as a child, or a youth, or an old man ; 
for Me, who am without a second, they create a second ; for 
Me, who am without actions, they find actions ; 1, who never 
eat, they say, partake of meals ; I, who am the univer- 
sally immanent Atman, they say, kill one in anger and support 
another in love. These and other human qualities which 
they attribute to Me are themselves embodiment of ignorance. 
When they see an image before them, they take it to be God 
incarnate/ and when it is broken, they fling it over, saying 
that it is no God (IX. 156-170). 

22. As a matter of fact, God so fills every nook and 

cranny of the world that every object must 

The Infinite Awe in succumb before His infinite omnipotence. 

Creation for God. When God chooses to show His prowess, 

the whole world is put in consternation, 

and with it also the whole host of the gods. " These feel 

themselves so over-powered by that great lustre/' says Arjuna, 

" that they try to enter into Thy being in great devotion. 

Fearful, lest Thou might grow wroth with them, they bow 

down to Thee with their hands folded together. Fallen are 

we, God, in an ocean of Ignorance, they say : caught are 

we in the meshes of senses Who else except Thee can 

save us from the fall ? They look at Thy great form, and look- 
ing, become amazed every moment, and wave their crest- 
jewels before Thee. They place their folded hands at Thy feet 
and say, victory, victory to Thee, O God" (XI. 326 ,336). 
It is in this manner that God sends an infinite awe throughout 
the whole of creation. 

23. And God is really not different from the world. Origi- 

nally from a single seed grows the sprout, 
Vision of Identity. from the sprout the stem, from the stem 

the many branches, and from the branches 
the leaves ; after the leaves comes the flower, and from the 
flower the fruit ; and yet when we consider it all, it is only the 
seed unfolded. In this manner am I identical with the \vhole 
world. From Me this world is spread ; from the ant to the 
highest god, there is no being who is without Me. He alone who 
awakes to this consciousness escapes the dream of difference 


(X. 98 118). The wise man is he who sees no difference, but 
instead sees identity everywhere. If one notices only the differ- 
ence of names, the difference of actions, and the difference of 
apparel, he will be born over and over again. From the same 
creeper are born fruits, longish, crooked, and circular, each 
with its own use. Thus beings may differ, and yet the same 

reality inhabit them all Even when these beings vanish, 

the Atman does riot vanish ; as when the ornaments disappear, 

gold does not disappear It is only the man who realizes 

this, who may be said to have his eye of knowledge opened 
(VIII. 1059- " 1080). There is thus no difference bet\veen 
Natura Naturans and Natura Naturata. Are there not diffe- 
rent limbs on the same body, asks Jnanesvara 'I Are there 
not high and low branches on a tree, sprouting from the same 
seed ? I am related to the objects, as waves are related to the 
sea. The fire and the flame are both of them .really the fire. 
If the world were to hide Me, what shall we say illumines 
the world ? Can the lustre of a jewel hide the jewel ? Thus 
it would be vain to deny the world to find Me ; for it is in 
the world that 1 am to be found (XIV. 118 -128). 

24. The greatness of God is so infinite that Jnanesvara 

has no difficulty in saying that God 

God cannot be cannot be known in His entirety. Ages 

known. have elapsed, he says, in discussing the 

nature, the greatness, and the origin 
of God. As a foetus in the womb cannot know the age of 

its mother ; as the sea-animals cannot measure the 

greatness of the sea ; as a fly cannot cross the heaven ; 

similarly the sages, arid the gods, and all the beings on the 
earth, being born of Me, cannot know Me. Has descending 
water ever crossed up the mountain ? Much rather would a 
tree grow up to its roots, than the world born of Me ever hope 
to know Me (X. 65 - 69). One, who seeks knowledge on this 
head, is bound to be ignorant. The sense of plenty is the 

cause of want Is there any higher wisdom than can 

be found in the Vedas ? Or, is there one who can talk more 
glibly than the Sesha ? And yet these cannot describe My 
greatness. Sages like Sanaka have grown mad in searching 
after Me. There is no sage whose asceticism could be com- 
pared to that of Sankara, and yet even he throws away his 
pride and accepts over his head the water which oozes from 
My feet. Thus one must throw aside all. his greatness ; one 
must forget all his learning ; one must become smaller than 
the smallest thing in the world ; only then could he hope 
to come in My presence. Even the moon ceases to shine 


before the thousand-rayed Sun ; why should the fire-fly then 
try to eclipse the greatness of the Sun ? For this reason, one 
must leave away all the pride of body, and wealth, and virtue, 
and then seek God (IX. 367- 381). The knowledge of the 
Vedas is incompetent to lead to the knowledge of the Atman. 

The Vedas are the cause of happiness and sorrow 

Forget not, therefore, the happiness of Self As when the 

Sun has arisen, all the ways are seen ; but .is one thereby 
able to take recourse to all the ways ? Jn a great flood, when 
the whole of the earth becomes full of water, one is able to 
drink only as much as would satisfy his thirst. Thus those, 
who^seek real knowledge, consider the Vedas no doubt, but 
accept only their teaching about the Eternal (II. 250 263). 
Only he can hope to know CJod, who turns his back from the 
requirements of sense ; who rises on the top of the ele- 
ments, and taking his stand there, looks with his eyes at My 
own eternal nature in the light of self-illumination. 'He. 
who regards Me as prior to the primeval, as the Lord of all 

beings, he is like a Parisa among men ; like mercury 

among all liquids ; he is the moving image of knowledge ; 

his limbs are made up of happiness ; his manhood is only a 
worldly illusion. Senses leave away such a man in fear, as 
the serpent leaves away a burning sandal tree (X. 72 80). 
Finally, to know G.qd really is to see Him everywhere ; as when 
a man wants to collect together the stars, he has only to roll 
up the sky ; or as when he wishes to take an inventory of the 
atoms of the universe, he has to lift the globe itself ; similarly, 
if a man wants to know Me, he must know Me in all My 
manifestations. As when a man wants to catch hold of the 
flowers and the fruits and the branches of a tree, he lias to 
pluck its root and take it in his hand ; similarly, when one 
wants to see My manifestations, he has to see My spotless 
form. To hunt after the infinite manifestations were a vain 
pursuit f hence it would be best that 1 Myself be apprehended 
(X. 259-263). 

25* There is a point in the Bhagavadgita which Jnanesvara 
in his commentary brings out at great 

Arjuna's Longing length. The great Transfiguration which 
after the Vision of the Krishiia underwent as described in the 
Universal Atman. eleventh Chapter of the Bhagavadgita sup- 

plies an excellent theme for Jnanesvara to 
dwell upon, and to bring into relief the vision of the Uni- 
versal Atman. To see God's human form, as Arjima saw it 
before him in the person of Krishna, was but an insignifi- 
cant matter, as contrasted with his great Transfiguration as 


Universal Atmari. Arjima thus pressed Krishna to show him 
His transfigured form. " Would it be possible for me", asked 
Arjuna, "to see in the outside world the Universal Lord 
of all ?" A boon which no other man had previously asked 
of Krishna, Arjuna dared to ask himself. "Granted that 
my love to Krishna is of a transcendent order, would it 
be however in any way greater than that of his spouse ? 
Granted that 1 have done an amount of service to Krishna, 
would it however in any way approach the service of the 
Great Eagle ? Could I be nearer to the heart of Krishna than 
the great sages like Kanaka and others ? Could 1 really bear 
greater love towards Him than His co-mates in the Gokula ? 

And yet if I am afraid to ask Him for this boon of 

the vision of the Visvariipa, my life would be spent in misery." 
Hence Arjuna dared to ask Him to show him the vision of 
the Universal Atman (XL 28 38). " Would 'Thou wert to 
show me," he said, " Thy original form, at whose desire the 
cycle of worlds comes into being and passes away, show me 
that original Form from which Thou takest two-handed and 
four-handed forms to remove the miseries of gods ; show me 
Thy original Form in which after having played the parts of 
Matsya, Kurma and others, Thou goest back to Thy original 
home. Show me the Form which is sung in the Upanishads ; 
which is soon by the Yogins in their hearts ; which is the sole 
inspiration of sages like Sanaka ; that Form, which is thus 
heard, I now wish to see. If Thou wert to grant me a boon, 
please grant me this" (XI. 81 88). 

26. Krishna was thereupon desirous of showing to Arjuna 

His Visvarupa, which He exhibited all 

Visvarupa not seen f a sudden to his eye, unmindful 

by Physical Vision, as to whether Arjuna with his physical 

but by Intuitive ^y e would be able to see it or not. 

Vision. Krishna did really show it to him ; but 

Arjuna was yet unprepared. " I have 
shown you My Visvarupa,'' said Krishna ; " but you have 
not yet seen it." Arjuna replied that the Visvarujja, which 
would be seen only by intuitive vision 'and not by physical 
vision, was as good as unshown to him unless he were endowed 
with that great intuitive power. "You are making a mirror 
clean," says Arjuna, " and holding it before a blind man ; You 
are producing a beautiful song, but only before one who is 
deaf" (XL 154 159) ; upon which Krishna gave him the 
intuitive vision by means of which he was able to see the 
Universal Atman. The darkness of ignorance began to slip 
away ; a flood of light came before the vision of Arjuna ; Arjuna 


was plunged iu an ocean of miracles ; his mind sank in wonder ; 
his intellect and senses ceased to operate ; in wonder he began 
to see, and the four-handed form which he had seen before 
him he now saw all about him ; he shut his eyes and saw the 
form of Krishna ; he opened his eyes and saw the vision of 
the Universal Atman (XI. 176- 196). The lustre of the Uni- 
versal Atman was so great, the very hosts of heaven were so 
terrified at that great prospect, Arjuna felt so powerless 
before the grand power of the Almighty, that he felt as if 
his very soul was passing out of his body. It was a spectacle 
of great terror, astonishment, and novelty. Unable to see 
the infinite lustre of that form, Arjuna prayed to Him : his 
mind was a mountain of sins ; he asked forgiveness of God, 
beseeching Him to excuse any derelictions which he may 
have committed. As when a rivor brings all kinds of dross 
to an ocean, does not the ocean receive them all ? < What 
words I may have spoken through love or mistake, in what 
way 1 may have offended against Thy great power, forgive me 
all, God," said Arjuna (XL 555-560). Arjuna fell pros- 
trate before that great Vision, and became full of noble senti- 
ments. His throat was choked, and he besought Him to 
take him out of the ocean of sins. Does not the father for- 
give the faults of the son, he asked ; does not a friend draw 
a veil over the derelictions of his companion ? (XL 567-574.) 

27. Krishna, in his transfigured form, had hitherto held 

silence ; but when he saw Arjuna terri- 

Condemnation of the fied in the extreme, he said to him that 

Fear of Arjuna. it was wonderful that he should show 

such a great lack of courage. " Thou art 

ignorant of the great boon that I have conferred on thee 

by showing thee this vision," said Krishna, " and thou art 

prattling like a terror-stricken man This infinite form 

of mine, from which all incarnations emanate, has never been 

hitherto heard or seen by anybody except thee Thou 

hast come upon an ocean of nectar, and art afraid of being 
drowned in it ; thou hast seen a mountain of gold, and 
sayest that thou dost not want such a great treasure ; 
thou hast had the wish-jewel in thy hands, and art throwing 
it because thou feelest it to be a burden ; thou art turning 
away the wish-cow out of doors, because thou canst not feed 

her ; even though this form might be terrific to look 

at, pin thy faith to this, as a miser keeps his thoughts round 

his buried treasure; thou art afraid because thou hast 

never seen this form before ; but forget not to exchange love 
for fear." So saying, Krishna, for fear of taxing Arjuna's 


patience too much, took on the human form again (XI. 609 

28. Jnanesvara employs a number of similes to show 

how Krishna took on the human form, be- 

Those who follow cause Arjuria was not competent to look 

the Impersonal, them- at the universal vision. He tells us that 

selves reach the Arjuria could not price the jewel to its 

Person. worth, or was like one, who looking at 

a fair bride, might say she was not to, 

his taste Krishna took the original gold to pieces in 

order to make ornaments therefrom. He unloosed the ap- 
parel of the universal vision ; but because Arjuna was not a 
good customer for it, He folded it again (XI. 640646). The 
internal meaning of such expressions is, Jnanesvara tells us, 
that those who are desirous of seeing the Impersonal them- 
selves reach the Person. This is the burden *of the twelfth 
Chapter of the Bhagavadgita, as also of the Jnanesvari, where 
the question being asked, which of the two is superior, the 
manifest or the umnanifest, and which of the two. aspirants 
is superior, the devotee or the philosopher, the answer is 
unmistakably given that the manifest is superior to- the 
unmanifest, and the devotee superior to the philosopher. 
Krishna evidently prices a devotee, whose devotion increases 
day by day as the river in the rainy season. Those who 
devote all the operations of the mind and senses to Me, says 
Krishna, and meditate without distinction of day and night, 
such devotees I prize more than anything else (XII. 34 39). 
On the other hand, those who follow the path of the Impersonal, 
which their mind cannot reach and intellect cannot pierce 
and sense cannot perceive, which is difficult of contemplation, 
which does not fall within the purview of the manifest, which 
exists at all times and in all places, which meditation vainly 
seeks to reach, which is neither being nor not-being, which 
neither moves nor stirs, and which is hard to comprehend 
even by hard penance, even these, ultimately reach My Per- 
sonal Being, while their penance and asceticism are only 
vain pursuits, landing them into an ocean of trouble (XII. 

29. Even though thus for practical purposes Personal 
Being is proved to be superior to the Impersonal, for logical 

purposes Jnanesvara very often sets up 

Characterization of the conception of the Absolute as an 

the Absolute. intellectual ideal : " that which is at 

once inside and outside ; which is far 

and near ; beside which there is no second ; to whose 


perpetual light, there is no flicker ; which is immacu- 
late in the beginning, the middle, and the end of existence ; 
like the sky, whicli is the same with itself in the morning, 
mid-day, and the evening ; which itself takes on the names 
of the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer ; which may 
be called the Great Void when the qualities have become 
annihilated ; which illuminates fire ; which inspires the moon ; 
which is the eye of the sun (XIII. 915- 938) ; which has its 
hands everywhere, because there is nothing outside, which 
is not occupied by it ; which has its feet everywhere, because 
there is no place that is not fille'd by it ; which has its eyes 
everywhere, because to it all things are always present ; 

which stands at the head of all ; which has its face 

everywhere, because it enjoys all things ; and which, in spite 
of all these things, may be said to have neither hands nor 
eyes nor feet and the rest ; but which, because it must be 
somehow characterized, may be called by these names, just 
as when a void is to be shown, it is shown in the form of 
a dot (Xlll. 873- 889). 

30. The most celebrated passage, however, in which Jna- 
nesvara speaks of the Absolute, is when 
The Sun of Absolute * the beginning of the sixteenth Chap- 
Reality, ter of the Jnanesvari, he compares it to 
the Sun even like Plato in the Kepublic, 
and describes by means of a continued metaphor the Sun of 
Absolute Reality. How very wonderful is it, asks Jfianesvara, 
[that while the celestial Sun makes the phenomenal world 
1 rise into view, the Sun of Absolute Reality makes the pheno- 
menal world hide its face altogether ? He eats up the stars 
in the shape of both knowledge and ignorance, and brings 
on illumination to those who seek Self-knowledge. At the 
dawn of the spiritual light, the Individual Souls like birds 
leave their nests on their spiritual pilgrimage. Varying the 
metaphor, Jnanesvara speaks of the Individual Souls as bees 
which were hitherto pent up in the lotuses of the subtle objects, 
but which, as soon as the Sun of Absolute Reality rose, were 
suddenly let loose in the light of day. Jnanesvara compares 
Intellect and Illumination, reason and gnosis, to a pair of 
loving Chataka birds, which, before the spiritual illumination, 
were crying out for each other in their state of separation, 
being divided by the river of difference ; but when the Sun 
of Absolute Reality rose, the pair is brought together, and there 

is harmony between them The Sun of Absolute Reality 

throws out rays of discrimination, whicli, falling on the double 
concave mirror of consciousness, burn to ashes the forests of 


worldly life. When the rays of the Sun of Absolute Reality fall 
straight on the Soul, a mirage of occult powers is produced. 
When the Sun reaches the zenith of spiritual experience, the 
aspiring Soul feels its identity with the Sun, and its individuality 
hides itself underneath itself like the shadow of a body at mid- 
day Who is there, the Poet-Saint asks, who has been able 

to visualize this Sun of Absolute Reality, who is beyond day 
and night, beyond good and bad, beyond all pairs of opposites, 
who is like an eternal lamp of light, which burns so miraculous- 
ly that there is nothing for it to illuminate (XVI. 1 16) ? 

II. Ethics. 

31. When we come to discuss the moral teaching of Jiia- 

nesvara, we must remember from the out- 
Thc Seductive Power e * that he has as much distrust of the 
of the Senses. senses as any other mystical philoso- 
pher. " The senses are so strong that 
even those, who are given to the practice of Yoga, and who 
have acquired all the necessary virtues for the practice of 
it, those, in fact, who are holding their minds in the hollow 
of their hands, even these are seduced, as an exorcist is 
seduced ; and when on a higher level of Yoga-practice, new 
objects of sense are created, and new kinds of power and 
prosperity open before the practiser of Yoga, these exercise 
a new charm, and seduce and turn away the mind of the 
spiritual aspirant, with the result that their practice in Yoga 
is stopped ; such is the great seductive power of the senses" 
(11. 31J 314)! 

32. But more than this current account of the seductive 

power of the senses, which is common with 

Catalogue of Virtues: other moral philosophers, Jnanesvara's 

Humility. great originality consists in making a 

very acute and accurate analysis of the 
various moral virtues. The thirteenth Chapter of the Bhaga- 
vadgita has supplied him with a text where all the necessary 
virtues of a truly spiritual life have been enumerated. Jnanes- 
vara draws upon that text and gives us a very full analysis 
of all the virtues mentioned in that chapter. He employs 
so many images in order to bring home to the mind of the 
reader the particular significance of the virtue under consider- 
ation, that we may easily regard Jnanesvara as almost the 
greatest moral philosopher who has employed the figurative 
method for the description of the virtues. Moral philosophy 
would be dry in the absence of this interestive side of exposi- 
tion; and we shall note presently the great wealth of material 


that has been employed by Jnanesvara for the description of 
the virtues. And first to speak of humility. A humble man 
is he, says Jnanesvara, who feels any word of praise as a 
burden upon him. Even though people may praise him for 
the qualities which he really possesses, such a man is disturbed, 
as much as a deer is disturbed when it is surrounded by a 
hunter ; and oppressed, as when a man feels oppressed when 
he is trying to swim his way through a whirlpool. One 
should never allow respect to be shown to oneself ; one should 
never so much as be the cause of the praise of one's 
own particular greatness. A man must feel mortified when 
people bow down to him ; even though he may be as learned 
as the preceptor of the gods, still he must seek shelter in ig- 
norance ; he should hide his cleverness, throw away all his 
greatness, and show by his actions that he likes to be called 

an ignorant man ! " The whole world should mortify 

me," he should say, " and my relations should leave me" 

He should live so silently that people must not know whether 
he is living or dead ; he should move so silently that people 
should not know whether he is walking, or is being driven 
by the wind. " Let my very existence cease," he should Say, 
,* let my name and form be hidden ; let all beings try to shun 
me." Such a man retires to solitude every day, and seems 
to live as if on solitude ; he makes friendship with the wind, 
talks with the sky, and loves the trees in a forest as dearly 
as his own Self (XIII. 185 202). In another place, also, in 
the ninth Chapter, Jiianesvara illustrates this extreme humility 
of the saint. An humble man is he who regards all existences 
from the ant to the highest god as identical with his own 
Self ; to him there is nothing great or small ; there is no dis- 
tinction between animate and inanimate ; and he regards all 
things as his own Self. He is forgetful of his own greatness, 
does not judge about the propriety or impropriety of others' 
actions, and bows down in modesty when any person what- 
soever is mentioned ; as water conies down from the top of 
a mountain and silently moves to the earth, even so, such a 
man is humble before everybody ; as the branches of a tree, 
which is laden with fruits, are bent down to the earth, even 
so such a man feels humility before every being (IX. 221 

33. Then Jnanesvara goes on to speak about unpreten 
tiousriess. An unpretentious man is he 
Un-pretentiouiness. who does not bring out his hidden spiri- 
tual treasure as a covetous man never 
brings out his. Even under pain of death, such a 


man never speaks about his meritorious actions ; as a 
cow which does not give milk hides its own milk ; or as 
a public woman hides her age ; or as a rich man hides his 
wealth when on a journey ; or as a noble girl hides 
her limbs ; or as a husbandman hides his crops ; similarly, 
suclijtnan never brings out his charity and merit into the broad 
day-light*. He 'does jiot worship anybody, nor flatter him ; 
his' merit he never lets fly on a highly-raised banner ; he is 
very stingy about his bodily enjoyments ; he is very charitable 
about religious duties ; difficulties may press him at home, 
and yet in charity he competes with the wish-fulfilling heavenly 

tree ; he is charitable at the right moment, and clever 

in speaking about self-knowledge ; otherwise he looks as if 
he were a lunatic. The size of a plantain tree looks small, 
and yet it is rich in fruits which are full of sw r eetness ; a cloud 
looks as if it may be blown by a wind, but it 'sends down rain 
in plenty. By these marks must one know a man who takes 
pride in uiipretentiousness (XIII. 203 217). 

34. The next virtue that Jnanesvara goes on to discuss is 
that of harmlessness. Now harmless- 
Harmlessness. ness is of various kinds. It may consist 

of non-injuriousness either of any organs 
of the body or of speech or of mind. Jnanesvara goes on 
to discuss various kinds of non-injury as thus classified. The 
ideal sage, according to him, does not even cross- a stream 
for fear of breaking its serenity ; he moves as a crane moves 
slowly on the surface of water, or as a bee moves slowly on a 
lotus, for fear of disturbing its pollen ; the very atoms, he 
regards, as consisting of life ; and therefore he walks softly 
as if by compassion. The road on which he walks is itself a 
road of compassion ; the direction, in which he walks, is a 
direction of love ; he spreads his life, as it were, below the 
feet of other beings, in order that he may be a source of happi- 
ness to all beings ; he treads the earth as softly as when a cat 
, holds its young one in its mouth for fear of injuring them 
by its teeth (XIII. 241 - 255). His hands remain motionless 
as the mind of a sage remains motionless on account of his 
desires being fulfilled ; he does not move his hand for fear 
of disturbing the wind, or the sky, that lies round about 
him ; far less may we say that he may cause any flies on his 
body to move away, or any gnats not to enter his eyes, or 
that he would make an angry face against birds and beasts ; 
he may not even raise a stick ; far less may we say that he 
may wield a weapon ; to play joyfully with lotuses in his 
hands, or to toss garlands of flowers, is to him almost as hard 


a function as throwing a sling ; he raises his hand only to 
show protection ; he stretches his hand only to succour the 
fallen ; he moves his hand only to touch the afflicted ; and he 
does this all so lovingly that even the southern wind might be 
regarded as harsh when contrasted with his mildness (XTII. 
278290). Tn a similar way, such a man is harmless even 
when he sees ; he does not look at other things for fear that 
they may take away his vision of God who is immanent in 
all things ; and yet if he sometimes moves his eyes through 
internal compassion, he moves them so softly that even the 
streaks of moonlight may be more palpable than the motions 
of his eye (XIII. 273276). The ideal sage is harmless 
even in speech ; his love moves first, and then move the words 
from his mouth ; compassion comes first, and then the words. 
Is it possible that the words coming from such a man may 
do injury to any one ? He remains silent for fear of breaking 
the peace of men, for fear of being even so much as the cause 
of the raising of eyebrows in others ; and if, when lovingly 
requested, he opens his mouth, he is as kind to his hearers as a 
father and mother ; his words sing the mystic sound incarnate 

True and soft, measured and sweet, his words are as 

it were the waves of nectar. They have once for all taken 
. leave of opposition, argument, force, injury to beings, ridicule, 

persecution, touch to the quick, greed, doubt, and 

deceit (XIII. 201- 272). Finally, his mind is as harmless 
as either his body, or his speech ; for his body and his speech 
would not be harmless, if the mind itself were not already 
harmless ; for it is the seed that is sown in the ground which 
shows itself as a tree later on ; similarly, the mind shows 
itself in the direction of the senses. Mental impulse lias 
its origin in mind, and then it comes over to speech, or sight, 
or the motor organs ; when the mind's mindness is departed, 
the senses lose their rigour, as without a wire-puller the 
dolls cease to throw out their hands and feet ; when the sea 
experiences a tide, the ships are themselves filled with water, 

similarly the mind makes the senses what it itself is 

If one would want to sec what non-injury is, one must 
go to this man, for he is non-injury incarnate (XIII. 293 

35. Sufferance is the next virtue that calls for treatment 
at Jiianesvara's hands. It consists in 
Sufferance and courageously bearing the various kinds 
Straightforwardness. f affliction physical, accidental, men- 
tal. Such a man is never tormented 
under heat, and never shakes under cold, and is not 


moved by any accident whatsoever ; as the earth does not 
feel that it is over-peopled by the infinite number of 
beings that range on it, similarly, he is not inconvenienced 
under the hardship of any duality whatsoever ; like an 
ocean, he gives room within himself to rivers and rivulets 
of grief, while, finally, he is not conscious that he is suffer- 
ing from these. This, according to Jnanesvara, is uncon- 
scious sufferance (XIII. 344351). Coming to straight- 
forwardness, Jnanesvara speaks of the Sage as being as equable 
as the sun, with whom persons do not count, or as accommo- 
dative as the sky, which gives place to all things inside it ; 
his mind does not change from man to man, nor his conduct ; 
he holds in bonds of friendship the whole world from time 
immemorial, and he does not know how to distinguish between 
himself and others ; like a full-blossomed lotus, there is no 
cranny in his heart ; his mind is as straight as a downward 
streak of honey. A straightforward man is the habitat of all 
these marks (XLll. 350-367). 
36. Devotion to Guru is the virtue which has attracted 

the greatest amount of attention from 
Devotion to Guru. Jnanesvara, and Jnanesvara spares no 

pains in describing it minutely. As a 
river should move towards the ocean with all the wealth 
of its water, or as revelation should finally rest in the 
Name of God, similarly the devotee is he who resigns all his 
things to the care of the Guru, and makes himself the 
temple of devotion ; as a woman separated from her husband 
is only pining after him, similarly, to the devotee's heart, 
the place where the Guru resides is the only object of atten- 
tion. When shall J be relieved of my sufferance, he asks, 
when may I be able to see my Guru I He verily regards a 
moment spent without the Guru as greater than a world- 
cycle. When any person brings some news from the Guru, 
or when the Guru himself sends some word to him, he feels 
as if a dead man should come to life again ; as a poor man 
should see a great treasure, or a blind man should be restored 
to his sight, or as a poor beggar may be made to sit on the 
throne of Indra, similarly when he hears of his Guru, he is filled 
with great happiness (XIII. 3(59-383). He also meditates 
in his heart on the form of his Guru in extreme love ; he 
places the Guru like a motionless star within the circumference 
of his heart, or within the precincts of his consciousness ; 
and in the temple of beatific joy, he distils the nectar of his 
meditation on the Guru as the sole object of his worship ; or 
when the sun of illumination has arisen, he fills the basket 


of his intellect with innumerable flowers of emotion, and 
worships the Guru with them ; or at all the three pure seasons 
of the day, he burns the incense of his egoism and waves lights 

of illumination before his Guru In short, he makes 

himself the worshipper, and his Guru the object of worship 
(XIII. 385-390). Or else, once in a while, he regards his 
Guru as his mother, and then like a child, he lolls on the lap 
of his Guru in the enjoyment of the spiritual nectar he has 
received ; or else he regards his Guru as a cow residing at 
the foot of the tree of illumination, and makes himself 
the calf ; likewise does he make himself a fish, who moves 
in the waters of the great compassion and love of his teacher ; 
or else he regards himself as a small plant watered by the 
showers of the grace of his teacher ; or he regards himself as the 
young one of a bird, which, as yet, has neither eyes nor wings, 
and imagining his Guru as his mother receives his morsel 
from the other's beak (XILI. 390 403). The devotee must 
be so full of service to his Guru that, in mere wonder, the 
Guru may say to him, 'Ask any blessings of me' ; and when 
the Guru becomes thus pleased, the devotee should ask, 'Let 
me translate myself into thy attendants, my Lord ; 1 should 
shape myself into all the instruments of thy worship (XIII. 
404 408). And so long as the body lasts, the disciple 
must be full of the spirit of service, and when the body is 
departing, he should consider that his ashes must be mixed 
with the earth where stand the feet of his Guru. " The watery 
portion of my body, I shall dissolve in the place where my 
Guru is sportively touching the waters ; my light, 1 shall 
transform into the lamps which are to be waved before my 
teacher ; my Prana, I shall transform into Fans arid Chaurls 
which serve to please my Guru ; the ether inside my heart, I 
shall dissolve in the place where my Lord lives along witli 
his attendants" (X11L 431 436). Finally, Jnanesvara tells 
us that the devotee himself must become lean in the service 
of his teacher, and feed on the love of his Guru. He must 
become the sole receptacle of the instructions of his Guru ; 
he should feel himself of a high lineage on account of his 
Guru, arid must find his nobility in the good actions of his 
brother-pupils ; his sole absorbing topic should be the con- 
stant service of his Guru ; the line which his Guru lays down 
for carrying on his spiritual work, he should regard as bind- 
ing upon him like rules of Castes and Asramas 

The Guru must be his place of pilgrimage ; the Guru his deity, 

the Guru his mother and father ; the only thing 

that ought to fill the mouth of such a devotee, is the Mantra 


which his Guru has taught him ; he should hold no book in 
his hands which does not contain the words of his master ; 
the water which has touched his Guru's feet, he should regard 
as superior in spiritual efficacy to the waters of any place 
of pilgrimage in the world ; when he gets a morsel of food 
which his Guru has thrown before him, he should regard even 
spiritual ecstasy as insignificant as compared with it ; in 
order that he shoiild enjoy the happiness of atonement, he 
should accept on his head the dust that is raised when his 
Guru walks ; when a man becomes full of these quali- 
ties, he becomes the sole abode of spiritual realization. 
Knowledge lives by him ; in fact, he is the God of whom Know- 
ledge is the devotee ; and Jnanesvara goes on to give 

his personal experience that he has been longing for the service 
of the Guru as implied in the above statement ; he must 
regard himself fortunate that he is not maimed of body so 
as to be prevented from engaging in Bhajana ; fortunate 
is he that he is not blind ; fortunate is he that he is not lame ; 
fortunate is he that he is not dumb ; fortunate is he that he 
is not idle, for he would have been otherwise uselessly fed ; 
fortunate is lie that he is entertaining real love for his master ; 
it is for these reasons, says Jnanesvara, that he has been 
nourishing his body in order that he might do spiritual service 
to his Teacher (X11I. 442 459). 
37. Jnanesvara next goes on to discuss the virtue of purity. 

A pure man is he whose heart is as lus- 
* Purity. trous as camphor ; or else like a jewel, 

which is pure inside and outside ; just 
as the Sun himself, who is pure both internally and externally ; 
such a man washes off his bodily sins by good actions, and 
shines internally by knowledge ; in this way, he becomes 
illuminative on both sides. On the other hand, a man whose 
mind is not pure, can scarcely be said to be pure even if he 
docs good actions ; he is like a dead man adorned with orna- 
ments ; or like an ass made to bathe in a place of pilgrimage ; 
or like the bitter Dudhiya fruit anointed externally by raw 
sugar. Such a man is of as little use as an arch-way built 
in a deserted place ; or as a famished man whose body is anointed 
with food ; or as the Kunkuma mark on the forehead of a 
husbandless woman. He is like a showy pitcher which 
contains nothing, even though it may shine externally ; or 
else like a painted fruit whose internal matter is made up 
of cow -dung ; even so, a man who does good actions externally, 
gets no value, as a wine-bottle immersed in the holy Ganges. 
It is, therefore, that we may say that a man should have 


internal knowledge, as well as have pure actions ; the one 
takes away the dirt from the inside, the other from the out- 
side ; and when purity is produced on both sides, such a man 
becomes purity incarnate ; his holy intentions shine out of 
him as the lamps in a house of marble. If such a man were 
to contaminate himself externally with objects of sense, 
his mind remains pure, and is itself uncontaminated. If a 
man were to meet persons of the pariah caste on the way, 
he does not thereby become contaminated himself ; or the 
same youthful woman, who embraces her husband as well 
as her son, is not affected by passion when she embraces the 
latter ; water has no power to moisten a diamond ; sand is 
not boiled in hot water ; similarly his temperament is not 
contaminated by evil desires. Such a man should be regarde^l 
as holy; in him does Knowledge dwell (XI 11. 462 484). 

38. Steadfastness or constancy consists in not allowing 

the mind to move even a little bit, even 
Steadfastness. though the body may roam from place 

to place. As an avaricious man who 
goes to a foreign land, places his mind on his hidden treasure, 
similarly the mind of a continent man does not move at all. 
The sky does not move, even though the clouds seem to move ; 
the fixed and constant star is not subject to the revolution 
of the other stars ; the path does not move even though the 
travellers seem to move ; the trees on the way do not come 
and go ; similarly, the mind of a constant man does not move, 
even though it may be placed in the five-fold elemental exis- 
tence of change and movement. As the earth is not moved 
by a storm, so his mind is not moved by calamities ; he is 
not tormented by poverty and misery ; he does not shake 
in fear and in sorrow, and is not afraid when death overtakes 
his body ; his mind does not turn back when affliction, desire, 
old age, and disease overtake it ; censure may come upon him, 
his life may be in danger, passion and dishonour may over- 
take him, but his mind does not move even a hair's breadth ; 
the sky may come down, or the earth may rise up to the 
sky, but his mind knows no movement ; an elephant carest 
a bit when he is attacked with flowers ; similarly, a steadfast 
man does not care when he is blamed with evil words (XIII. 

39. Self-control consists in not allowing the mind to obey 

the behests of the senses. It consists 

Self-Control. in keeping to the mind, as a spirit keeps 

to the body which it possesses, or as an 

armsman keeps to his weapon, or as a stingy man keeps to 


his treasure, or as -a mother keeps to her son, or as a bee keeps 
to the honey. A man of self-control is afraid lest the ghost 
of passion may overtake him, or the witch of desire may catch 
hold of him ; he does not allow his mind to move, as a strong 
husband does not allow his wife to move out ; he makes the 
virtues keep guard at the doorway of mind on the watch- 
stand of introversion ; he pens up his mind in the three Ban- 
dlias, famous in Yoga philosophy, or else in the movement 
of the Prana on the right or lefthand side of the nose ; he 
engages it in meditation quite near to the throne of Samadhi, 
so that it may reach illumination in course of time (XI 11. 
502 510). 

40. A dispassionate man does not care for the objects of 

sense as the tongue has no craving for 
Dispassion. vomited food, or as one does not embrace 

the body of a dead man. He does not 
care for sensual pleasures as one does not care for poison, 
or as one does not go inside a burning house, or as one does 
not take lodgment in the cave of a tiger, or as one does not 
jump into a cauldron of liquid iron, or as one does not rest 
upon the pillow of a serpent. Such a man has no craving for 
anything ; he is lean of body and takes pride in tranquillity 
and self-control ; he gives himself over to penance and fasting, 
and it is death to him to enter a busy town ; he cares for the 
practice of Yoga, goes to solitude, and does not care for com- 
pany ; he likes worldly pleasure only as much as one likes 
to lie on a bed of arrows, or to wallow in mucus, or in mud ; 
he cares as much for heavenly pleasure as one cares for the 
rotten flesh of a dog. It is only when a man gets such dis- 
passion for the objects of sense that he becomes fit for the 
enjoyment of spiritual happiness (XIII. 514 523). 

41. Uri-Kgoism consists in doing actions, as if a man were 

* to be addicted to actions, and yet not 
Un- Egoism. to take pride for having done those ac- 

tions. Such a man is quite punctilious 
in doing his daily duties according to his caste or order, but 
does not cherish in his heart the thought that he is doing 
those actions. As wind moves everywhere without any idea, 
or as the Sun rises without any particular object, as revelation 
comes of its own accord, or as the Ganges moves without 
the notion of flowing to any particular place, similarly he 
acts without any pride. As trees fructify in due season and 
yet are not conscious of their fructification, similarly, he does 
actions unconsciously. His egoism is taken away out of his 
mind and actions, as the central thread may be taken out of a 


necklace ; and as clouds move in the sky unconnected with 
each other, similarly, his actions are unconnected with his 
body. As a drunkard does not know what cloth he is wearing, 
or as a portrait is not conscious of the weapon which it is made 
to hold in its hand, as an ox may not know what philosophic 
work it is carrying on its back, similarly, he is not conscious 
of himself as doing those actions, and therein consists his 
iin-egoism (XIII. 525-534). 

42. Jnanesvara says that to take a pessimistic view of 
existence is for some time a necessary 
Pessimism. step in the realisation of spiritual know- 

ledge. One should contemplate the 
griefs of birth and death, and old age and disease, before one 
actually becomes subject to them. One should contemplate 
one's birth as an abominable condition of existence, seeing 
that the body is formed out of a bit of mucus, has come 
out from the passage of urine, and has devoured the sweat 
of the breasts. One should determine that he should do 
nothing by means of which he would be subject to this condi- 
tion again; and before dearth comes, may it be even at 
the end of a cycle, he should become awake even to-day. 
For does not a man gird up his loins even on the banks of a 
river, when he is told that the waters of the river are very 
deep ? Does not a man keep awake when he knows that his 
guide is a robber ? Does not a man take medicine before he meets 
death ? When a man finds himself in a house on fire, it will be 
useless to dig a well. Just as a man, who has come to contract 
deadly enmity with a powerful enemy, keeps his sword bran- 
dished during all the hours of the day ; as a bride, for whose 
nuptials all the necessary ceremonies are made, is sure to 
be married ; or as a man. about whom it is proclaimed that 
he will take Samnyasa, must perforce take Samnyasa ; similar- 
ly, one must prepare himself for death even before he meets 
it. One should live by his own self by averting life with 
life, and death with death. Moreover, as regards the evils of 
old age, he should contemplate them even while youth is still 
on him. To-day the body is fat, but to-morrow it will be 
like a dried vegetable. To-day these eyes compete with the 
petals of a lotus, but to-morrow they will be as putrid as a 

over-ripe 'padavala' "The passages of the faBces and 

urine will be obstructed, and they will prepare for my death. 
The world may spit at me. I shall be caught in the clutches 
of death. My relations will be utterly disgusted with me 

My cough will keep all my neighbours awake, and 

they may well ask why the old man does not die ?" One should 


keep all this before his mind even in youth, and then one 

will grow disgusted with life One should hear before 

non-hearing comes. One $hould move before lameness occurs. 
One should see while yet vision is not lost. One should talk 
good words before one becomes dumb. One should do acts 
of charity before the hands become crippled. In general, 
one should think about spiritual knowledge, before such a 
condition befalls and the mind becomes idiotic. As one may 
make arrangements for his estate before the thieves come to 
rob one of it, or as one may arrange things in his house while 
yet the lamp is burning, similarly, one should make arrange- 
ments before old age conies. Just as a man may be robbed, 
if on his way he does not mind the mountains and valleys, 
or if he does not take hint from the fact that the birds are 
moving to their nests in the evening ; just as a man should 
take counsel of health before disease overtakes him ; or as one 
may leave a ball of eatables which has fallen into the mouth 
of a snake ; similarly, a man should live in utter detachment, 
for fear that separation with objects of sense will bring cala- 
mity and grief (XIT1. 536 590). 

43. An unattached person is he who lives in his body as 

a guest lives in the house of a host. He 
Unatlachment, and has as much desire for a place of residence, 
Love of Solitude. as orie has for the shade of a tree which 
one accidentally meets on the road. 
One should have no craving for union with one's wife, as one 
has no craving for the shadow which creeps along with the 
body. Children must be regarded as passengers who accident- 
ally meet, or as cattle which sit under the shade of any tree 
whatsoever. In the midst of prosperity, such a man lives 
unattached, as one who only shows the way on a journey 
without going himself (XIII. 594 598). And he also loves 
solitude. " He should have a passion for places of pilgrimage, 
and the holy banks of rivers, forests and groves, which one 
inhabits for spiritual purposes. He should not come to a busy 
town, living as he does in caves, the hearts of mountains, 
and in the precincts of large lakes. He should love solitude 
and hate all towns 11 (Xlil. 012-614). 

44. To crown all, he must have God-devotion. He should 

resolve that there is no object of love 
God-Devotion. greater than God. He should devote 

his body and speech and mind solely to 
God's contemplation. " He should come in My near presence 
and should sit down with Me. As a wife does not feel any 
difficulty in approaching her husband, similarly, he should 


approach Me. As the waters of the Ganges keep on moving 
towards the Ocean, similarly, he keeps on coming to Me. 
He who becomes one with Me, ai^d yet maintains devotion 
towards Me, may be said to be Knowledge incarnate" (XII 1. 
604611). And what is Knowledge? Knowledge consists in 
realizing that God alone is ; that beyond Him and without 
Him there is nothing ; that the knowledge of this world and 
of the other world is tantamount to mere ignorance. He 
alone has attained to Knowledge who becomes fixed in the 
idea that God alone is real, and all else an illusion. He is 
like the fixed and constant star in the heavens, who deter- 

minately maintains the reality of spiritual knowledge 

What is the use of any other knowledge ? Ts it not like the 
lamp in the hand of a blind man ? On the other hand, he, 
who reaches the end in the light of contemplation, holds 
reality as it were in the hollow of his hands (XI 11. 616 632). 
45. Hitherto we have seen how Jfianesvara takes an intellec- 
tual view of virtue, and how in So- 
Catalogue of Vices. cratic fashion he identifies virtue with 
knowledge. Knowledge to him, in fact, 
consists, in the manner of the Bhagavadglta, of the so 
many virtues which we have hitherto discussed. As he takes 
an intellectual view of knowledge, he also takes an intellec- 
tual view of ignorance. Now ignorance is the absence 
of knowledge, and therefore means absence or negation of the 
many virtues which we have hitherto discussed. Follow- 
ing merely a hint thrown out in the text of the Bhagavad- 
glta- " Ajnanam yadatonyatha" -Jfianesvara goes into de- 
tails over a discussion of the negation of virtues, which con- 
stitutes ignorance. As contrasted with the various virtues 
enumerated above, there are a number of vices corresponding 
to the virtues, each by each ; and this Jnanesvara now goes 
on to discuss. As when day comes to an end and night begins 
to have its sway, similarly, when knowledge ceases, ignorance 
reigns supreme. What now are its marks ? An ignorant man 
is he who lives upon the respect which others pay to him. 
He expects to be honoured. He is pleased with hospitality. 
He never descends from his greatness, as one in pride may 
not descend from the summits of a mountain. On the high 
tree of speech, he erects an archway of his own merits, as 
one may raise a broomstick on the top of a temple. He 
spreads about his knowledge, and sounds as with a cymbal 
his own good deeds ; whatever he does, he does for the sake 
of fame. And as fire may spread through a forest and 
burn both animate and inanimate objects, similarly, by his 


actions, he is the cause of grief to the whole world. What 
he speaks in jest is more piercing than a powerful and sharp 

nail. It is more deadly than poison As dust rises to 

the top of the sky through a hurricane of wind, similarly, 
by praise lie is inflated and raised. On the other hand, when 
he hears his censure, he holds down his head, as mud is dropped 
down by water and dried by wind. His mind is haughty ; in 
speech he is unrestricted ; iu presence he agrees ; in absence 
he supports another ; his external actions are only as good 

as the food which a hunter places before a deer ; or as 

a pebble enveloped by moss, or as the pungent Nimboli fruit 
which is ripe. He is ashamed of his spiritual teacher. He 
swerves from devotion to his Guru, and having learned wisdom 
from his teacher, he behaves arrogantly with him. In his 
actions and body, he is loose. In mind he is full of doubts. 
He is like a dirty well in a forest, on the surface of which 
there are thorns, and inside there are bones. As a hungry 
dog makes no distinction between what one may take and what 
one may not take, similarly, for the sake of pelf, he does not 
recognize persons. Just as the little lion of the village, namely 
a dog, partakes of pure and impure things together, similarly, 
he makes no distinction between one woman and another. He 
is not pained at heart, even if ho misses the proper time for 
daily or ceremonial actions. As a pond becomes dirty as soon 
as a foot is placed inside it, similarly, his mind is tormented 
as soon as fear enters it. His mind flows on the waters of 
desires like a gourd on a flood of water. In such a man, we 
may say, ignorance reigns ; for, by his instability, he is brother 
to an ape. His mind roams like an ox that is let loose, or 

like a storm of wind ; or like a blind elephant that 

is intoxicated, or like a fire that burns on a mountain. 
He is immersed all the while in sensual pleasures. To him 
there is no other occupation except sensual delight. He per- 
forms ablutions as soon as he finds a dispassionate man. He 
approaches sensual objects, as a male ass approaches a she- 
ass, even though the latter kicks at him and breaks his nose. 
For the attainment of sensual pleasure, he would throw him- 
self in a place on fire. He regards vices as ornaments. Just 
as a deer which runs after a mirage until it breaks its head, 
similarly, from birth to death he runs after sensual objects, 
and even though defeated in his attainment, he still conceives 
greater and greater love for them. At first he loved his mother 
when he was a child. Later on, when he became a youth, his 
wife was the sole engrossing topic of his attention. In the 
company of his wife he becomes old, and in his old age his child 


becomes the sole object of his affection In all these cases, 

he regards the body as soul, and acts likewise. As the worship- 
per of a deity is possessed as soon as flowers are placed on 
his head, similarly, he becomes full of pride by his knowledge 
and youth, and in a supine position he says that there is 

nobody like him, and that he is omniscient As when a 

flame is burning, the wick is exhausted and along with it the oil, 
similarly, he burns all his qualities and all his affections, arid 
he is reduced merely to soot. He is like a flame which 
crackles when water is sprinkled on it, and which is extin- 
guished if a breath is blown against it, but which burns as 
soon as it catches the slightest piece of grass, which sends 
out little light but becomes hot even by its littleness. He 
becomes as inflated as a pariah when crowned, or as the big 
serpent which swallows a pillar. He knows no humility like the 
unsuccumbing rolling stick. His heart knows no tears like 
a stone, and like a bad serpent he does not succumb even to 
a charmer. He so much believes in life that he cannot imagine 
that there is death. Like a fish in a small pond of water, 
he believes that it will never dry up, and therefore feels 110 

necessity for going to a deeper place JJiit this poor 

fellow does not know that when a concubine delivers over 
all that is hers, that is only the cause of ruin ; the company 
of thieves is only the cause of death ; to drench a picture in 
water is to destroy it. As when a man is running to the place 
of beheadal, death is approaching him at every step, simi- 
larly, as life is growing and as happiness is increasing, death 
is conquering life and destroying it, as salt is being destroyed 
in water. Old age is sure to come with as much necessity as 
a cart comes down from a precipice, or a piece of stone des- 
cends from the top of a mountain. He is as full of the madness 
of youth as a small brook is full of water, or as when the 
buffaloes enter into a deadly quarrel with one another. As an 
ox may accidently return from a tiger's cavern, and then 
desire to go back again to it, or as a man may bring a treasure 

safely for once from a serpent's place, similarly, he 

does not imagine that his fortune is accidental, and does not 
take into account that there is a serpent to guard it. He 
cannot imagine that in a short time he may be separated 
from his fortune and be reduced to a plight of misery. By the 
boasted powers of his youth and the help of his treasure, he 
resorts to good and bad things together. He enters what he 
ought not to enter ; he walks where he must not walk ; he 
touches what neither body nor mind should touch ; he goes 
where he ought not to go ; he sees what he ought not to see ; 


he eats what must not be eaten ; he keeps company 

which he must avoid ; he goes where he must not go ; 
he follows a path which he must not follow ; he hears what 

he must not hear ; he prattles what he must not speak 

His affection is centred in his house, as a bee clings to the 
new pollen and fragrance of a flower. His wife attracts his 

attention, as a piece of sugar attracts a fly He, whose 

heart is conquered by a woman, does not know how to benefit 
his own self. He is not ashamed ; he is deaf to the censure 
of others ; he worships the heart of his paramour, and dances 
according to her wishes, as a monkey dances before its master. 
As a devotee may worship his family deity, similarly, with one- 
pointed attention, he worships his wife. If anybody were to see 
her, or if anybody were to oppose her, he feels as if there is 

going to be an end of the world Jf he loves God, he loves 

him for the attainment of some end ; and if he cannot 

attain to his end as soon as he worships, then he disbelieves, 
and leaves away his devotion to God as futile. As a villager 
worships cue god after another and with a devotion with 
which lie worshipped the first, he goes to a Guru, who seems 
to him to be very prosperous, and learns a Mantra from him. 
He creates an image of his own choice, and places it in the 
corner of his house, while he himself goes to a place of pilgri- 
mage, arid visits temple after temple. He must worship the 
real god every day, but when he has some end to be fulfilled, 
he worships his family deity, and when any particular holy 
occasion conies, he worships quite another. Forgetting that 
God is at home, lie roams to deity after deity, and worships 
the manes on the occasion of a Sraddha. With the same 
devotion with which he must worship God on the EkadasI 
day, he worships the serpent on the Nagapaiichami. On 
the fourth day of the dark half of the month, he worships 
Durga. He leaves away his daily and ceremonial duties, 
and worships the Navachandl. On Sundays, he distributes 
food in order to please Bhairava. On Mondays, he runs to a 
Lingam to worship it with Bela leaves. In this way, he tries 
to please god after god. He worships perpetually without 
remaining silent for a moment, as a courtesan tries to attract 
man after man at the doorway of a town. A devotee, who 
thus runs from deity to deity, may be said to be ignorance 

incarnate Such a man takes delight in society, is pleased 

with the noise of a town, takes pleasure in talking gossip, 
and when anybody talks to him about the real way to reach 
God, he creates such a noise that he refuses to hea-r it. He 
does not go to the Upanishads. He has no love for Yoga. 


His mind lias no liking for the Pathway to God. He likes 
every other subject except the discussion of mystic knowledge. 
He knows the theory of Karma. He has studied different 
Puranas and learnt them by heart. He is such a great astro- 
loger that he can predict future events. He is skilled in the 
science of Architecture. He knows the art of cooking. He 
is an expert in the magic of the Atharva-Veda. His knowledge 
of the sexual science knows no bounds. He has studied the 
Bharata. He is proficient in the knowledge of the Agamas. 
He has known all the theories of Ethics. He has studied 
medicine. In poetics and dramaturgy, there is no man equal 
to him. He can discuss the topics of the Smritis. He knows 
the art of a magician, lie is altogether versed in the Nighantu. 
He is clever in the science of Grammar, and has gone very 
deep in the science of Logic. He knows all these sciences ; 

but he is stark-blind in the science of Self-knowledge 

One should not look at such a man, as one may not look at a 
child which is born in the constellation of Mula and which is 
the cause of death. The plumage of a peacock is covered all 
over with eyes, but there is no vision in the eyes ; simi- 
larly, the knowledge of the various sciences is as nothing when 

the knowledge of the Self is excluded r lhe body of 

such a man is only the seed of ignorance. From such a seed 
can spring no other plant, or flower, or fruit, except ignorance 
itself (XIII. 653-842). 

46. The chief excellence of Jiianesvara as a mystical 

philosopher lies, as we have seen, in 
Divine Heritage I. his analysis of the different virtues, 

and corresponding to them, the different 
vices in his exposition of the thirteenth Chapter of the Bhaga- 
vadgita. Jnanesvara recurs again to a similar discussion of 
virtues and vices in his exposition of the sixteenth Chapter. 
There we have a division of the two heritages -the divine 
heritage, and the demoniac heritage. The divine heritage 
is a heritage of virtues ; the demoniac heritage is a heritage 
of vices. Now, what are the virtues that constitute a divine 
heritage ? Jnanesvara tells us that the first virtue is fearless- 
ness. It consists in riot being afraid of Samsara, because the 
egoism in reference to action and non-action has already been 
killed. It also consists in throwing away all feeling of fear, 
in the firm belief of the unity of all things and the identi- 
fication of another with oneself. If water tries to drench 
salt, the salt itself becomes water. Hence when one has ex- 
perienced the unity of all things, fear vanishes immediately. 
The second virtue, namely, purity, consists in keeping the 


heart as pure as the waters of the Ganges before the onset 

of the rainy season and after the end of the hot season 

Tt consists in making the intellect united with God-head, 
and in keeping the mind unmoved by the senses, as a chaste 
wife is not moved by the considerations of gain and loss in her 
separation from her husband at his departure to a distant 
place. The third virtue, namely, fixity of knowledge, con- 
sists in making the mind full of the desire for the attain- 
ment of Atman. It consists in sacrificing the whole of the 
mind to God as one may throw an offering in fire without 
any reference to fruit. As a nobly-born person offers the 
hand of his girl to a person of noble birth without any desire, 

similarly one should become fixed in the knowledge 

of Yoga without the taint of any desire. Charity consists 
in sacrificing oneself in mind and wealth to an afflicted man, 
just as a tree offers itself wholly to a passenger in the street 
by its shade, or by its flowers, fruits, roots, or leaves. Self- 
restraint consists in separating the senses from their objects, 
as water may be cleaned by means of the Nivali seed ; it con- 
sists in not allowing the objects to influence the senses by giving 

these latter in the hands of self-control, in filling all 

the ten senses with the fire of dispassion, and finally, in making 
the body succumb to severe duties as incessant as inspiration 
and expiration. The next virtue, namely, sacrifice, consists 
in dutifully offering to God whatever is best. When a Brahmin 
does his caste-duties, arid a Sudra bows down to him, both 
may be said to be performing sacrifice equally. Everyone 
can sacrifice in this way by only attending to his proper duties ; 
only he must not be infected with the poison of the fruit of 
actions. When a ball is struck at the ground, the real inten- 
tion is not to strike the ground but to catch hold of the ball ; 
when seed is sown in a farm, the real object is not the sowing 
of the seed, but the rearing of the crops ; as, again, a mirror is 
to be cleaned for enabling one to look at oneself inside it ; 
similarly, one should study the sciences not for their own 
sake, but for the sake of God. The Brahmin may study the 
Brahma Sutras, others may recite a hymn, or sing the name of 
God. A repetition of any of these things in order to attain 
to God may be called spiritual practice, which is the next 
virtue. Finally, by penance is meant emaciation of one's 
limbs and body for the sake of Self-realization, just as incense 
is burnt in fire, or gold loses its weight in the process of puri- 
fication, or the moon wanes in the dark half of the month 
(XVI. 68108). 


47. Another set of qualities required for the divine heri- 
tage J mines vara now goes on to develop. 
Divine Heritage II. 1 Straightforwardness consists, according to 
him, in being good to all beings, as milk 
is good to a child, or as the soul exists in all beings 
equally. Non-injury consists in making the body, speech, 
and mind exist only for the happiness of the world. 
Jiianesvara gives us a good analysis of the conception of 
truth. Truth is as piercing and as mild as the unblown Jas- 
mine flower, or as the light of the Moon which is nevertheless 
cool. It might be again compared to a medicine, which des- 
troys disease as soon as it is seen, and which is not to the 
slightest degree pungent to the taste. But such a medicine 
does not exist, and so truth is incomparable, it is like water 
which does not pain the eye even though it is put inside it ; 
which, on the other hand, has the power of breaking the pre- 
cipices of mountains. It ought to be as piercing as iron in 
dispelling doubts ; and in point of being heard it eclipses 

sweetness itself By its sweetness it deceives nobody; 

and by its straightforwardness it pains nobody. On the other 
hand, the huntsman's song is sweet to the ear, and yet it is 
death to the deer. Also, truth must not be like a siren's 
song, which is sweet to hear, but which, when meditated upon, 
breaks the heart. Truth is the mother's quality who becomes 
angry but does not mean ill. Non-anger is that quality of the 
heart, which, like a stone, upon which water is poured, does 

not yet sprout like a plant A serpent's slough may be 

trodden under foot, and yet it raises no fang. The sky has 
no flowers even in spring-time. Suka was never afflicted with 
passion even though he saw the beautiful form of liambha. 
Even though ghee is poured upon ashes, it does not produce a 
flame of fire. Sacrifice consists in leaving away all contact 
with the world, after having killed the egoism of the body 
by means of the intellect. Tranquillity has an analogue in 
the destruction of the knowcr, the knowledge, and the known, 
all equally, as when the infinite flood of water at the time of 
the (jreat End, having eclipsed the existence of the world, 
makes the spring, the stream, and the ocean, all equally 
disappear. Coodness is, for example, exhibited by the physi- 
cian who has no partiality for his or others' people, and whose 
one desire is to conquer the onset of disease before it passes 
out of control. When a cow sinks in mud, one does not care 
whether she is a milch-cow or not ; one's only business is to 
relieve her from suffering. When a man is drowning, people 
do not care whether he is a Pariah or a Brahmin ; their only 


business is to take him out of water. When a chaste woman 
has been robbed of her clothes, a good man looks at her only 
when he has covered her with a cloth. When others' faults 
leap to the eye, one should cover them and then look at them. 
We should look at a deity, after we have worshipped it. We 
should go to a farm, only when the seed has been already sown. 
We should take the blessings of a guest, only when we have 
pleased him. Similarly, by one's qualities, one should cover 
the defects of others, and then look at them. Compassion 
is like the broad moonlight which sends a cooling influence 
without considering the great and the small. Compassion 
is exhibited most by water, which destroys itself in order to 
maintain the life of grass. Even if one sacrifices oneself 
wholly by looking at the misery of others, pne should 
consider that one has not yet played one's part completely. 
He should feel distressed at the misery of others, as when a 
thorn rushing into the foot makes the whole body ache, and 
as when the foot is rubbed with cool oil, the coolness goes to 
the eye, similarly when others become happy, one ought to 
grow happy. r lhat man is compassion incarnate, whose life 
is meant merely for the relief of the sufferance of the afflicted, 
even as water is meant for the quenching of the thirst of those 
who are thirsty. Uncovetousness is like that of the Sun, who, 
even though the lotus may follow him, yet does not touch 
the other's beauty ; or like that of the spring, which even 
though it may be the cause of the entire beauty of the forest, 
yet does not partake of it ; or like that of Clod Vishnu, who 
does not mind even though Lakshml comes to him with all 
the Siddhis. The uncovetous man, in short, cares nothing 
for the enjoyment of the sensual objects of this world or of 
the next. Softness is like that of the bees when they are 
touching their hive, or of the sea-animals when they are 
swimming through waters, or of the birds when they are 
moving in the sky. The mother has always a soft corner 
for her child in her heart ; the wind from the southern quarter 
is soft in spring-time ; the vision of the beloved is soft to the 

eyes ; the camphor is soft to the touch, sweet to the 

taste, fragrant to the nose, brilliant of form, and so would 
have served as an excellent standard of comparison, could 
one have partaken of it to one's heart's content. Finally, 
one must be as soft as ether, which encloses inside all the 
elements, and yet enters into the smallest of atoms. Bash- 
fulness is like that of the beautiful when affected with white 
leprosy, or of the nobly-born of whom an evil word is spoken. 
It consists in the reflection that there is no use in coming to 


birth and dying from time to time, and in being a corpse 
even though living. Is it not shameful to be obliged to live 
in the womb of the mother, where blood and urine and fat 
and other things make a motley fluid ? To even take on name 
and form in the shape of a body is most shameful. Finally, 
absence of fickleness is like that of the doll which ceases to 
throw out its hands and feet, when once its inner thread is 
taken away. It consists in reclaiming our senses by conquering 
the Prana. As when the sun sets, all the rays are absorbed 
in it, similarly, when the mind is conquered, all the senses 
become one with it. Hence when the mind and breath have 
been conquered, all the senses become powerless. In this 
powerlessness of all the senses consists the constancy of mind 
(XVI. 113185). 

48. A third set of moral qualities that come under the 

divine heritage is discussed in yet another 
Divine Heritage HI. verse of the Bhagavadgita which now 

Jfianesvara tries to expound. Spiritual 
lustre is that quality which docs not allow a man to lessen 
his courage, when one is trying to reach God by the Yoga 
method of realization. The Sati does not care for death in 
fire, because the death is to be met for the sake of her 
husband. It consists in naturally and determinately fol- 
lowing the pathway to God, irrespective of any obstruction 
from jural or social commandment, or by the hindrances 
of the so-called Siddhis. Sufferance is absence of pride in 
having become great by being obliged to suffer evils, as the 
body which carries the hair on itself does not know that it 
is so carrying them. Courage is exhibited in withstanding 
the flood-gates of sensual impulse, or in putting up with any 
disease that one's misfortune makes one suffer, or in meeting 
an evil fate. A courageous man stands more boldly than the 
sage Agastya, even though all these misfortunes may come 
upon him simultaneously as in a great flood. Just as a small 
motion of wind dissipates even a lengthy column of smoke 
in the sky, similarly, a courageous man bears all mental, 
physical, or accidental evils, and even on occasions of great 
mental disturbance preserves his absolute equanimity. Purity 
is like that of a golden pitcher, thoroughly cleansed from the 
outside, and filled inside with the water of the Ganges. It 
consists in doing actions without reference to results on the 
outside, and in maintaining perfect discrimination from the 
inside. Love towards all is exhibited as by the water of a 
holy river, which destroys all sin and suffering as it moves 
on, nourishes the trees on its banks, and ultimately discharges 


itself into the ocean. As the Sun destroys the blindness of 
the world, opens temples of lustre, and moves on encircling 
the universe, similarly the man, who bears love towards all, 
unloosens those who are bound, helps those who are sunk, 
and relieves those who suffer and are miserable. Day and 
night, his primary aim is to achieve the happiness of the human 
kind, and only secondarily does he care for his own interest, 
not to speak of any efforts made for the attainment of his 
end, when that action is sure to bring evil to the world. 
Finally, absence of pride consists in being bashful of one's 
greatness as the Ganges, when it descended on the head of 
Sankara, contracted its volume of water (XVI. 186 20(>). 
Jnanesvara tells us that the twenty-six virtues, which he has 
hitherto discussed, constitute the entire preparation for en- 
tering into the being of God They are, as it were, the 

garland of flowers with which the maiden of Deliverance tries 
to adorn the neck of the Dispassionate ; or else they are the 
twenty-six lights which Gita, the damsel, waves before Atman, 
her husband ; or else, again, they are the twenty-six pearls 
found in the shell of the divine heritage in the ocean of the 
Bhagavadgita (XVI. 207- 212). 
49. Jnanesvara now goes on to discuss the vices which 

constitute the demoniac heritage. These 
Demoniac Heritage. are, on the whole, six : hypocrisy, pride, 

arrogance, anger, harshness, and ignor- 
ance. Of these, hypocrisy consists in pretending greatness 
where there is none If one were to bring to the market- 
place the learning, which he has imbibed from his teacher, 
that learning becomes itself a cause of evil. The office 
of a boat is to carry a man over a flood ; but if it 
be tied to the foot of a man, it will only drown him ; simi- 
larly, if one were to trumpet one's own meritorious deeds, 
that itself would become the cause of ruin. Pride is like 
that of the horse of a professional rider, which regards even 
the gods' elephant as inferior to it ; or like that of the 
lizard on the thorn, which regards even heaven as inferior 
to it. 1 he fire, which falls on grass, tries vainly to rise to the 
sky. The fish in a pond regards the ocean as of no matter. 
A man feels pride in his wife, or wealth, or learning, or praise, 
or honour, just as a man of little consequence becomes full 
of pride by being invited to dinner at another man's house 
even for a day. It is as if a foolish man should demolish his 
house, because there is for the while the shadow of a cloud 
over him ; or again, as if one should break open a reservoir 
of water because he sees a ink-age. Arrogance is exhibited 


by the moth which does not suffer a lamp ; or by the fire-fly 
which tries to eclipse the sun ; or by the little Tittibha bird 
which makes enmity with an ocean. An arrogant man does 
not suffer even the name of God. He regards his own father 

as his rival, which is the sure way to moral ruin. An 

angry man cannot suffer the happiness of others, which is 
only the cause of the rise of his passion. When drops of 
water are poured over boiling oil, it only produces a great 
noise ; a fox suifers deeply when it sees the moon ; when the 
suu rises giving lustre to the whole world, the owl loses its 
sight ; the dawn, which is the cause of happiness to human 
kind, is greater than death to the thief ; milk, drunk by a 
serpent, becomes only poison ; the fire in the bosom of the 
ocean consumes an amount of water, and yet burns more 
fiercely ; similarly, an angry man becomes all the more angry 
by not being able to suffer the learning, the wisdom, and the 
prosperity of other people. A harsh man's mind is like the hole 
of a serpent ; his sight is like a discharge of arrows ; his speech 
is like a shower of fire; and the rest of his actions are as sharp 
as the edge of a saw. The ignorant man, like a stone, cnnnot 
distinguish between cold and heat. Like a man born blind, 
he does not know the distinction between night and day. 
He is like the ladle which enters into different fluids, but docs 
not know the taste of any. Not being able to distinguish 
between a good thing and a bad thing, like a child he puts 
everything into his mouth. He makes a mixture of virtue 
and sin, and cannot distinguish their consequences "(XVJ. 
217- 252). These six vices constitute the whole demoniac 
heritage. The fang of a serpent, though small, is yet poison- 
ous. The six vices are like a conjunction of fierce planets 
in the same zodiac. They are like the sins which gather 
together near a slanderer. As when a man is dying, he be- 
comes subject to a number of diseases at the same time; 

or when a sheep is departing from life, a scorpion of seven 
stings may come and sting her ; similarly, a man who culti- 
vates these vices, goes down deeper in Samsara, because he 
cannot rise to the path of God. He descends down and 
down, until he is born as the most heinous creature in 
existence, and is born even in the shape of stones (XVI. 
253 263). Those, who oppose the will of God by their demo- 
niac qualities, are born in the most heinous kinds of existences, 
which are only the dung-hill of misery, or the sewage-pit 
of the world of existence. They are born like tigers and scor- 
pions, and do not get any food to eat ; and suffering unbear- 
able pangs of hunger, they ultimately eat themselves! They 


burn their bodies by their own poison, like a serpent that is 
pent up in its own hole. They find no rest even so much as 
for expiration. For an infinite number of cycles, they con- 
tinue in these very existences They are reduced to the 

state of darkness itself, which adds a deeper hue to the already 
existing darkness. Sin shudders at them ; hell is afraid of 
them ; misery becomes tired of them ; dirt becomes more 
foul by them. Heat burns, and fear runs away at their men- 
tion. Evil becomes more evil. Untouchability becomes all 

the more untouchable Speech fails at the mention of 

their evil fate. Tlie mind recoils. What hellish existences 
have these fools purchased ? Why should they have followed 
the demoniac path, which has led them to such a great fall ? 
(XVT. 407-422.) 
50. From the above discussion of the Virtues and Vices, 

as implied in the discussion of the nature 

Other Miscellaneous of Knowledge and Ignorance in the 

Virtues. thirteenth Chapter, and of the Divine 

and Demoniac heritages in the sixteenth 
Chapter, it may be seen that Jfianesvara excels particularly 
in his analysis of the moral qualities and their aberrations. 
Dispersed also throughout his various other Chapters are de- 
scriptions of other virtues, which we must not fail to notice. 
Til the second Chapter, he speaks of true intellect as that 
by which, if it shines ever so little in a man, his whole fear 
of the worldly existence departs. We must not say that the 
flame of a lamp is small, as it produces great light ; simi- 
larly, when true intellect is ever so little, we must say it 

nevertheless shows great power The Parisa stone 

cannot be found like other stones, and even a drop of nectar 
would be impossible to find even by great accident. Thus 
the goal of true Intellect is God, just as the goal of the Ganges 
is the ocean. We may therefore define true Intellect as that 
which concerns itself with God above anything else whatso- 
ever (IT. 37 42). In the sixth Chapter, Jfianesvara says that 
dispassion is the necessary condition of the pursuit of God. 
w< Before a man can hope to find God, we must first see whether 
dispassion has been created in him. Even if a man be of small 
age, still if he has blossomed in the spring of dispassion, he will 
not take much time to bear the fruit of God-realization" 
(VI. 47 50). In the same Chapter, we read also how anni- 
hilation of desire itself means the realization of Atmari. 
"God is not very distant from those who have conquered 
their hearts, and have stilled their passions. When the dross 
material in base gold has been driven off ? what remains is pure 


gold itself ; similarly, when desire disappears, the Individual 
Soul becomes Brahman. The ether inside a pitcher that is 
broken meets the ether in the sky ; similarly, when bodily 
egoism is destroyed, the Individual Soul is Brahman" (VI. 
81-84). Then again, in the same Chapter we read further 
how observation of the mean is a necessary condition of spiri- 
tual life. " We must eat food, but take it only in a measured 
quantity. We must do actions, but in a measured manner. 
We must speak measured words. We must measure our 
steps. We may also by measure go to sleep. If we are to 
keep awake, that also we must do by measure. In this way, 
when equanimity is produced in the body, great happiness 
will arise (VI. 349 351). In the twelfth Chapter, Jfianes- 
vara describes the virtue of equanimity in a very clever way. 
Such a man knows no unevenness of temper. He is equal 
to his friends and foes. As a lamp does not think that it 
must produce light for those to whom it belongs, and create 
darkness for those to whom it does not belong ; as the tree 
gives the same shade to a man who puts his axe at its root 
as well as to him who rears it up ; as a sugarcane is not sweet 
to the man who has reared it, and sour to the man who presses 
it ; similarly, the man of equanimity is alike to friend and foe, 
as well as to honour and dishonour. He is not moved by 
praise, nor is his mind disturbed by words of censure, like the 
sky which is not tainted by anything. He tells neither truth 
nor untruth ; but only shuts his lips. He can never be pre- 
vented from enjoying the super-conscious ecstatic state. He 
is pleased with what good befalls him. He is not displeased 
with loss, as the Ocean does not dry up because there is no 
rain. He does not resort to any particular place, as the 
wind has no partiality for any one locality. He deliberately 
thinks that the whole world is his mansion ; in fact, he be- 
comes the All (XII. 197213). 

51. In the seventeenth Chapter, Jfianesvara makes parti- 
cularly two good discussions, namely, of 
The Nature of the nature of Sacrifice, and of the nature 

Sacrifice. of Penance. Following the Bhagavadgita, 

he recognizes a psychological background 
to these moral virtues, and says either Sacrifice or Penance 
may be Sattvika, Rajasa, and Tamasa. And first to speak 
about sacrifice. Sacrifice, in which Rajas predominates, may 
be disposed off in a word by saying that the aim of such 
a sacrifice is fame. Likewise we may say that the aim in 
Tamas-sacrifice is folly. What matters is only that kind of 
sacrifice in which Sattva predominates. True sacrifice is that 


in which there is no attachment to the fruit of it, as a truly 
chaste woman does riot allow any scope to her passion, except 
in the case of her own husband. As when a river has gone to 
the ocean, it stops moving further ; or as when the Veda had 

reached the discussion of the Atman, it stands silent ; or 

as when water, when it reaches the root of a tree, reaches 
its consummation and moves no further ; similarly, in true 
sacrifice, the sacrificer loses himself in the bare act, and does 
not think of the fruit. As one can see oneself in a mirror ; 
or as one can see a jewel in the hand by means of a lamp ; 
or as when the sun has arisen, one can see the way ; similarly, 
because it is the command of the Veda, the sacrificer gathers 
together all the different kinds of material for sacrifice, employs 

those which are wanted in their particular places, 

and completes the sacrifice without the slightest taint of ego- 
ism. The Tulasi plant is reared in a house, but no desire is 
entertained for its fruit, or flower, or shade. In a similar 
manner, that kind of sacrifice is alone real in which there is 
no reference to any fruit whatsoever (XVII. 170 184). 

52. Like sacrifice, penance is also of three kinds, accord- 
ing as Sattva, or Kajas, or Tamas pre- 

Penance in which dominates in it. Now the penance in 
Sattva predominates, which Sattva predominates, may be either 
of body, or of speech, or of mind. Bodily 
penance is exhibited in going round a number of places of 
pilgrimage, and thus exercising the feet during all the twenty- 
four hours. The hands should be devoted to the work of 
the adornment of temples, arid for supplying flowers and in- 
cense to the deity. As soon as a Lingam or an Image is seen, 
the body must fall down prostrate like a stick. Also service 
must be rendered to those who are elders in learning and 
virtue. Bodily penance also consists in bringing happiness 
to all those who are suffering from the pains of travel, or from 
any other difficulties whatsoever. The body should be devoted 
to the service of the parents, who are holier than any other 
holy objects. The Guru must particularly be worshipped, 
who so compassionately bestowed upon us Knowledge, and 
showed us the way out of the wilderness of Samsara. The 
body, which is naturally subject to laziness, must, in the per- 
formance of duty, be subjected to the repetitions of good acts. 
One should bow down to God, supposing that He is in all 
human beings, take resort to benefaction of others, and have 
absolute self-control in regard to women. Only at the time 
of birth must a woman be touched ; further, there should be 
no contact with any woman whatsoever (XVII. 202 211), 


We now turn to the penance of speech. This virtue consists 
in bringing happiness to another without speaking evil words 
to him. Just as a philosopher's stone makes an iron ball a 
ball of gold without reducing its weight ; as water goes down 
in the first instance to the roots of a tree, but incidentally 
it also helps the grass to grow ; similarly, when a man is 
speaking with one, he should benefit all. Were it possible 
to find a river of nectar which makes life immortal, we would 
find that it drove oif sin and sorrow as well as supplied sweet 

drink at the same time We should speak only when one 

is spoken to ; otherwise we should recite the Vedas, or utter 
the name of God. The mouth should be verily the abode of 
the different Vedas, or else should be given to the utterance 
of the name of Cod, whether it may belong to the Saiva school 
or the Vaishnava school (XV IT. 21(3- 223). Mental penance 
consists in making the mind atoned to (Jod when all its desires 
and doubts have been at an end, like a lake which is placid 
when there are no waves on it, or like the sky in which there 
are no clouds, or like a garden of sandal trees from which the 
serpents have run away. Tt may also be compared to the 
moon in which the indeterminateness of the Kaliis has been 
at an end, or to a king whose mental anxiety has disappeared, 
or to the Sea of Milk from which the Mandarachala mountain 

has been taken off Were it possible to find the moon 

which would have no spots, which would not move, and which 
was full at all times, it might have been compared to the 
beauty of such a mind. In it. the striving after dispassion is 
at an end ; the palpitation and shaking have ceased ; and 
what remains is perfect Self-realization. It is for this reason 
that such a mind does not succumb even to the recital of the 
Vedas. It has attained its own end, and therefore it has lost 
its mind-ness, as salt, which, when merged in water, loses its 
saltness. In such a mind, mental purity exists of itself, as 
the palm of a hand is naturally hairless. This condition 
of mind is entitled to the name of mental penance (XVII. 

53. The penance in which Rajas predominates makes one 

aspire after reaching the pinnacle of 

Penance in which * greatness. Such a man thinks that 

Rajas predominates. the highest honour in the whole world 

must go to him. He must have the seat 
of honour at the dinner-time ; he should be the sole recep- 
tacle of the praise of the world ; people in the whole world 
should make a pilgrimage to him ; worshippers of other men 
should find their ideal in him. Such a man is verily like an 


old courtezan who still puts ornaments on her body in order 
to attract the attention of men. That kind of penance, there- 
fore, the aim of which is to acquire wealth or honour, may 
be called Rajasa penance. When an insect partakes of the 
milk from the udders of a cow, the cow ceases to give milk, 
cvon though she might have just given birth to a calf. A 
man, who sends his cattle to feed on the crops of his field, 
shall have nothing left to him from which grain may come. 
Similarly, that penance in which there is a mere trumpeting 

of one's effort, becomes utterly useless Will such an 

untimely cloud, which fdls the sky and which seems to break 
the heaven by its thunder, continue for a long time to over- 
cast the sky? (XVII. 242251.) 

54. The penance in which Tamas predominates is exhi- 

bited in foolishly regarding the body as 

Penance in which one's enemy ; in making it travail in 

Tamas predominates. the midst of the five strong fires ; or, 

in fact, in even making an otiering of it 
in fire ; in burning resin on the top of the head ; in 

putting one's back on iron pikes; in famishing the 

body by swallowing morsels of smoke by placing one's 
mouth in an inverted position ; in resorting to rocks and 
banks of rivers, which are full to the brim of ice-cold 
water ; and finally, in plucking off portions of flesh from the 
live body. Such a kind of penance, in which the aim is the 
destruction or the subjugation of others, may well be illus- 
trated by a stone, which descends at full speed from the top 
of a mountain, and which, as it is broken into small* pieces, 
breaks also anything that comes in its way ; similarly, by 
giving infinite trouble to oneself, the aim of one who makes 
such a penance is to bring misery upon those who are other- 
wise living happily (XVII. 254 -202). 

55. Finally, Jfianesvara gives us a philosophical account 

of the virtue of resignation to God 
Resignation to God. in the last Chapter of the JiianesvarL 

There, he discusses the nature of re- 
signation philosophically rather than morally, and tells us 
that resignation to God consists in identification with 
Him. Arjuna may be said to have resigned completely 
to the will of Krishna when he became identified with Him. 
" To know My oneness without the distinction of Self is 
the meaning of resignation. As when a pitcher is broken, 
its ether merges in the infinite ether, similarly, be sub- 
missive to Me in being united with Me. As gold into gold, 
or as wave into the ocean, similarly, be thou submissive 


one, who wants to reach pure Sattva-hood, actions themselves 
become as holy as places of pilgrimage. A place of pil- 
grimage wears away one's external impurity ; but action 
wears away internal impurity As a man who is suffer- 
ing from thirst in the Marudesa may find a pond of nectar 
in that country ; or as a drowning man may be saved by the 
River itself ; or as a falling man may be held up by the 
Earth in pity ; or as a dying man get a further release of 
life from the Lord of Death ; or as a diseased man may be 
relieved of his disease by a poison purified ; similarly, a man 
who is doing actions, may be saved from the effects of action, 
and become worthy of salvation (XVITI. 149 363). 
58. We must remember, nevertheless, that there is an 

eternal difference between works and 
Works and realization. Jnanesvara insists from 

Realization. time to time, in the manner of the 

Bhagavadgita, on the difference be- 
tween the doing of actions, and the knowing of God : and 
he tells us that the one is absolutely insignificant as con- 
trasted with the other. " Those, who by rightful performance 
of the duties of the Asramas, become themselves the standards 
of duty ; who by performing sacrifices become an object of 

praise even for the Vedas ; such sacrificers, who are 

themselves the embodiment of sacrifice, only incur sin in the 
name of merit. For, in spite of their knowledge of the three 
worlds, and in spite of their performance of hundreds of such 
sacrifices, they leave Me, who am the object of the sacrifice, 
and hunt after heaven, just as an unfortunate man, sitting 
under the shade of a wish-tree, may tie and untie his begging 

satchel Thus the path to heaven is a meritorious 

path for those who are ignorant. But those, who know, 
regard it as an hindrance, and as a ruin. Heavenly happi- 
ness is so-called, because it stands contrasted with the misery 
of hell ; while contrasted with either is My spotless Form. 
When people come to Me, both heaven and hell would be seen 
to be merely the byways of thieves. One goes to heaven by 
the sin in the form of merit ; while one goes to hell by the sin 
in the form of sin ; while that, which enables one to reach 
Me, is pure merit. While they live in Me, they are away from 
Me, and yet they call their actions meritorious. \yhy should 
they not lose their tongues for such a lie ? They go to heaven 

only by the sinful merit of not having known Me 

When this merit, however, is exhausted, their Indra-hood 
comes to an end, and they begin to come down to the world of 
mortals. As a man who has spent all his money in going to 


courtezans cannot even so much as touch their door, similar- 
ly, the life of the sacrificers becomes shameful, and does not 

deserve any further description Thus even though a 

man may know all the three worlds, he becomes useless if he 
does not know Me. For he is throwing away the grain to 

partake of chaff ! Know Me, therefore, and know nothing 

else, arid thou shalt be happy ' (IX. 307- 334). 

59. There are thus various means suggested from the 

point of view of action, so that one may 
Performance of Duty, ultimately land into the domain of 
a Divine Ordinance. Self-realization. The first means suggest- 
ed for a riddance from action is the habit 
of doing our actions, because duty impels us to do them. 
The consideration of duty, therefore, forms the first justi- 
fication for action. In the third Chapter of the Jnanesvari, 
we are told that this social duty was first prescribed by 
Uod Himself, and this duty was divided according to the 
requirements of castes and orders. " Do your duty, and 
the end will take care of itself. Do not go in for any 
vows or ceremonies. Trouble not yourself by going 
to places of pilgrimage. Do not deliver yourself to means 
like Yoga, or to aimful worship, or to charms and incanta- 
tions. Worship not other deities. Do the sacrifice implied 
in your duty. Worship your deity with a mind bereft of any 
consideration of consequences, as a chaste woman worships 

her lord If you just follow your duty, then duty will 

be a wish-cow to you" (111. 85- 94). We thus see how the 
performance of duty as duty is the first way out of the bond- 
age of actions. 

60. A second help, for getting ourselves away from the 

influence of actions, is that we should 
Actions should be do them without any attachment to them. 
done without Attach- Unattachment seems to supply a second 
ment. motive for the doing of actions in order 

that actionlessness might be ultimately 
secured. We are told by Jiiauesvara in the eighteenth Chapter 
that we should do acts of great sacrifice, without allowing 
the egoistic impulse to take possession of us. " He, who goes 
on a pilgrimage on payment, never prides himself that he is 
getting the merit of the pilgrimage. By the seal of a power- 
ful king, one may be able to drive the king himself ; but one 
need not therefore pride oneself upon having achieved the 
result. He who swims by taking the help of the loin-cloth 
of another, never arrogates to himself the power of swimming 
on his own account. The sacrificial priest never prides himself 


upon being the donor in the sacrifice One should be as 

regardless of the fruit, as a nurse is about the child of another 
woman. One does not sprinkle the Pippala tree in order to 

get its fruit The boy, who tends the cows, never tends 

them in order to get milk from them Similarly, one 

should always do actions without any attachment. Take this 
to be My message on the subject of action and actionlessness" 
(XVIII. 10(5170). 

61. A third motive for securing the result of actionless- 

ness in the midst of action is supplied 

Renunciation of the by the absolute renunciation of the fruits 

Fruits of Action. of action. " If it be impossible for thee 

to circumscribe on both sides thy intel- 
lect and thy actions by My Self, at least take resort to 

self-control, and whenever thou doest any actions, resign the 
fruits of them. As a tree or a creeper throws away its fruits 
when it can no longer bear them, similarly, throw away thy 
actions at the proper time. It does not matter if these actions 
are not done for the sake of Cod ; let them at least go into 
the Void. Take thy actions to be as useless as rain on a rock, 
as sowing in fire, or as a mere dream. Just as one entertains 
no desire whatsoever about one's daughter, similarly, enter- 
tain no desire for actions. As a flame of fire wastes itself 
in the sky, similarly, let all thy actions go into the Void. It 
seems, Arjuna, that this is an easy procedure, but remember 
that this is the highest of all kinds of Yoga" (XII. 125- 134). It 
seems from this passage that Jnanesvara advocates the re- 
nunciation of actions into mere nothingness, if a man, by his 
temperament, is not able to resign them in favour of (Jod. 

62. The highest motive, however, for the performance 

of actions in order that actionlessness 
The Offering of m &y be secured is the offering of actions 
Actions to God. to God. A mere void or nothingness 

is absolutely insufficient ultimately to 
give us the result of actionlessness. Jnanesvara teaches 
like the Bhagavadglta that we should offer actions to Cod, 
so that in that way only may we secure actionlessness. 
48 All the actions that are done should be delivered over to 
Me in an attitude of faith. Throw away even the memory 
of the performance of such actions. Cleanse thy actions, 
and hand them over to Me. As when seeds are put in fire, 
they are deprived of the possibility of germination, similarly, 
both good and bad actions, when they are offered to Me, cease 
to germinate. As soon as actions have been offered to Me, 
all considerations of birth and death go away Wait 


not for the morrow. Make use at once of this device for 
actionlessness" (IX. 400405). In another place, Jfianes- 
vara tells us again that we should not shut up our senses, or 
throw away enjoyment, or rid ourselves of the consciousness 
of our worth. "We may safely perform all our family duties, 
as well as obey all positive and negative social injunctions. 
We may be permitted to do all these things. But we must 
remember that whatever action we are doing mentally, orally, 
or physically must not be egoistically attributed to ourselves. 
To do or not to do depends not upon us, but upon God who 

moves the whole world Throw thy intellect firmly 

in Me. Does the chariot take care as to whether it is going 
on the straight or the crooked path ? Whatever thou doest, 
resign it to Me without thinking as to whether it is great or 
small. It is only when thou habituatest thyself continually 
to this temperament that thou, after departing from the body, 
mightest come to be atoned to Me ' (XII. 114 124). Finally, 
we are told in the last Chapter of the Jnauesvarl that we should 
worship the all-pervading God by the flowers of our actions. 
Thus alone will God be pleased. When He is pleased, He 
gives us excellence in dispassion as a mark of His grace, by 
which dispassion, and by severe contemplation on God, all 
this appears like vomited food. When her lover has gone 
away, the beloved feels even life to be a burden. In a similar 
way, all happiness is regarded by such a man as misery itself ; 
and even though one may not have attained to the end, the 
very concentration on it makes us one with it. Such is the 
great virtue of this procedure (XVI 11. 916-922). We thus 
see, on the whole, that for securing actionlessness in the midst 
of action, four kinds of helps are suggested. The first is the 
performance of an action as a matter of social duty ; the 
second is its performance without any feeling of attachment ; 
the third is the renunciation of its fruit ; the fourth and the 
last is a more positive help, namely, the offering of all actions 
to God. 

63. It has been recognized thut the three-fold division 
of psychological temperaments into the 

The Three- f ol d Divi- Sattvika, the llajasa, and the Tamasa 
sion of the Psycholo- paves the way for a similar ethical classi- 
gical Temperaments. fication and thus for a division of the 
moral qualities according to these tem- 
peraments. Now Jfianesvara makes an analysis of the 
upspringing of the Sattva, the Rajas, and the Tamas 
qualities in man, and tells us in the fourteenth Chapter 
of the Jnanesvari that all the three are born from the 


eternal background of the Prakriti. Just as in the same body 
there is childhood, manhood, and old age, similarly, there 

are these three qualities in the same temperament. 

Just as before a fish has caught the bait, the fisherman draws 
his net, similarly, Sattva, the hunter, throws the nets of happi- 
ness and knowledge over those who are born with the tempera- 
ment of Sattva, and catches hold of these as if they were 
deer to be caught in the net. Then these people flutter with 
their knowledge, and rim on all fours with self-consciousness, 
and leave away the happiness of Self, which would otherwise 
have been in the hollow of their hands. These are satisfied 
by learning, become delighted by the slightest gain, know 
that they are pleased, and begin to rave in joy. There is no 
one who is so fortunate as himself, says such a man ; there is 
no man who is so happy ; and he becomes full of all the eight 
emotions arising from Sattva. To add to these things, the 
ghost of learning possesses him, and unmindful of the fact 
that he is knowledge himself, he becomes as large as the sky 
in the consciousness of his intellectual powers (XIV. 139- 
154). A man with the Jlajas temperament is always merged 
in seeking pleasure, and is ever young in his desires. Just as 
fire, when smeared over by ghee, passes beyond control, simi- 
larly, the desires of such a man know no bounds, and 

even though he may be in the possession of a golden mountain, 

he still tries to push his acquisition further If all that 

one has to-day will be spent, what will lie do to-morrow ? 
With these desires, he seeks business after business. What 
should he eat if he goes to heaven, he asks, and so he performs 
sacrifice after sacrifice As the wind at the end of sum- 
mer-time knows no rest, similarly, his activity knows no rest. 
He is as fickle as a moving fish, or the side-look of a woman's 
eye, or the flickering of lightning. With the velocity of these, 
does he enter into the fire of action (XIV. 101 -172). As 
contrasted with both these, stands the man in whom Tuinas 

predominates. Such a man lives only in ignorance, 

which is merely a spell of indiscretion, a vessel in which 
the wine of folly is put, a missile to infatuate the whole of 
mankind. Tamas means sluggishness in all the senses, and 
foolishness in the mind, which gathers strength from idleness. 
Such a man merely moves his limbs, has no desire for action, 
and spends his time merely in yawning. He has open eyes, 
and yet cannot see. He gets up from his sleep, even though 
nobody calls him. As a piece of stone, which has fallen 
down, does not move, similarly he does not move when he 
once goes to sleep, even though the earth may go down to the 


nethermost region or rise above the sky. He knows neither 
right nor wrong. His intellect is given merely to wallow 
where he is, and he is so fond of sleep that he regards even 
heaven as inferior to that condition. Let me have the life 
of a God, he says ; but let me spend it wholly in sleep. When 
he is even walking by a road, he nods at the slightest move, 

and goes to sleep. He has no desire even for nectar 

Such a man knows not how to behave ; knows not how to 

speak Just as a small fly may vainly try to extinguish by 

its wing the whole conflagration of a forest, similarly such a man 
falls to foolish acts of daring ; has courage for actions which he 
cannot do ; and loves error. Til short, a man of the Tamas 
temperament is bound together by the three ropes of sleep, 
idleness, and error (XIV. 174 194). 

64. This is, however, the ordinary routine of the tempera- 
ment of those who are born with the 
Overthrow of the reign of the qualities in them. Scarcely one 
Thraldom of the among a thousand rises superior to these 
Qualities. qualities ; but it is in his absolute trans- 

cendence of them, in his liberation from 
their thraldom, in his identification with the Self, that 
real absolution lies. Jnanesvara tells us that as an actor 
is not deceived by the various parts that he plays, similarly, 
a man must not be deceived by the power of the 
qualities. In the midst of these qualities (Jod exists as spring 
exists in a forest of trees, the cause of the beauty of the garden. 
As the Sun does not know when the stars set, or how the sun- 
stone burns, or how the lotuses bloom, or how night disappears, 
similarly, 1 exist in all things without getting Myself con- 
taminated with them. It is only he, before whom discrimi- 
nation dawns in this way, that rises superior to the qualities, 

and comes to Me As a river goes to an ocean, so he 

reaches Me. As a parrot may rise from the iron-bar, and sit 
freely on the branch of a tree, similarly, he rises from the 
qualities, and reaches the original Ego. He, who was sleep- 
ing and snoring in ignorance, is now awakened to Self-con- 
sciousness. The mirror of division has now fallen from his 
hands, and so he cannot see his temperament in that mirror. 
The wind of bodily arrogance has now ceased to blow, and 

the waves and the sea have become one As the light 

of a lamp cannot be prevented from going out of a house of 
glass, as the sea-fire cannot be quenched by the waters of the 
sea, similarly, his illumination does not sufier by the qualities 
which come and go. He is like the reflection of the moon 
in the sky into the waters of the qualities. Even when the 


qualities possess his body and make it dance, he does not 

identify himself with them He does not know even 

what is going on within his body. When the serpent has 
thrown away its slough and gone into a nether hole, does 
it any longer care for its skin ? As the fragrance, issuing out 
of a flower, becomes merged in the sky, does it come back 
to the lotus from which it came ? Similarly, when he has 
become identified with the Self, he ceases to be influenced 
by the qualities of the body (XIV. 287-315). 

65. This is how liberation from the thraldom of the 

qualities comes about. In another meta- 

Uprooting of the Tree phor, Jfianesvara gives us an insight 
of Unreality. into the moral process of the destruction 

of the Asvattha, the tree of unreality, of 
which we have already spoken. How is such a man able to 
uproot this tree of unreality ? His intellect becomes filled 
with dispassion. By that dispassion, he throws away the 
thraldom of the qualities, as surely as a dog cares not for its 

vomit He should take out the sword of dispassion 

from the scabbard of bodily egoism, hold it lightly in the 
hands of intuitive vision, and sharpen it on the stone of 
discrimination until it reaches the sharpness of the 
identity of Self with God. He should then cleanse it by 
perfect knowledge ; next try its strength by the fist of deter- 
mination ; weigh it by the process of contemplation ; until 
the wonder of it is- when the sword and the swordsman 
become one, there shall remain nought to be cut down by the 
sword. In the light of unitive experience, before that sword 
of Self-knowledge, the tree of unreality would vanish of itself. 
Then one need not contemplate whether its roots reach heaven- 
high, or go hell-deep ; whether its branches move upwards 
or downwards. It will vanish of itself, as the mirage vanishes 
under moonlight (XV. 255 265). 

66. We have seen above that the way towards (Jod lies 

either through an overthrow of the 
Destruction of the thraldom of the qualities, or the uproot- 
Moral Vices. ing of the tree of unreality. In a simi- 

lar way, we are told that it lies in the 
destruction of the three moral vices, Kama, Krodlia and 
Lobha (passion, anger, and covetousness), which are com- 
pared to the high- way robbers on the way towards God. Where 
these three gather together, know that evil is destined to 
prosper. These are the guides of those who want to reach 
the place of misery. They are an assembly of sins which lead 
one to the sufferance of hell. One need riot take account of 


the hell called Raurava spoken of in mythology ; these are 
themselves that hell incarnate ! They constitute a three-direc- 
tioned post on the doorway to hell. He who stands in the 

midst of these, gets honour in the domain of hell So 

long as these keep awake in the mind of man, he shall never 
come to good ; never shall one even be able to hear of good. 
He, who wants to do good to himself, and fears self-destruc- 
tion, should not go by the way of these vices. Has one been 
able to cross the sea by binding a huge stone on his back ? 
Has one been able to live by feeding on the deadliest poison ? 

It is only when these three leave the mind of man, 

that he is able to secure the company of the good, and to walk 
on the path of liberation. Then by the power of the company 
of the good, and of the knowledge of the sacred books, he is 
able to cross the woods of life and death, and reach the home 
of the grace of the Guru, which is always full of the joy of the 
Self. There he meets the Atman, who is the greatest among 
all the objects of love, and forthwith ceases all this bustle 
of worldly existence (XVI. 424443) ! 

III. Mysticism. 

67* The description of the way to the Atman is the sole 
absorbing topic of mystical writers, and 
The Pathway to Jnanesvara spares no pains in describing it 
God. from various points of view. The great 

pathway, says Jnanesvara, can hardly be 
expected to be traversed to the very end by any traveller. 
The great God Sankara himself yet journeys on the path. 
Whole companies of Yogins have tried to traverse it in the 
sky, and the pathway could be seen by the footprints of 
their experiences. They have left off all other sideways, and 
have gone straight by the way of Self-realization. Great 
Rishis have walked on this path. Being first novices in the 
art of Self-realization, they have more or less attained to the 
goal. God-realizers have become great by having crossed 
this path. One ceases to be tormented by the appetites of 
hunger and thirst when one sees this path. One cannot even 
so much as distinguish between night and day when on the 
path. Where the travellers on this path place their foot- 
prints, the mine of absolution opens of itself. Even if one 
goes sideways of this path, one goes to heaven. Starting from 
the east, one does necessarily go to the west ; in this determin- 
ate fashion is the journey of this path. While the wonder of 
it is, that as one travels on this path towards the goal, one 
becomes the goal itself (VI. 152160). 


68. In another place, Jiiariesvara, following the Bhaga- 

vadgita, tells us that there are four 

The Four Avenues to avenues to this great pathway. Some 

the Pathway. people go by the path of knowledge 

under the influence of the Samkhya 

Philosophy. In the fire of thought they meditate on the 
problem of the Self and the not-Self, and separating 
the thirty-six elements, they ultimately fall upon the pure 
Self. Others there are who by bhe process of contem- 
plation obtain the vision of the Self within themselves. 

Others there are, who, following the path of Karinan, 

try to reach the Godhead. And yet, finally, there are 
those who are able to dismiss bhe darkness of this worldly 
existence by simply putting their faith in another. They 
throw away their arrogance, and pin their faith to the words 
of others, who are able to distinguish the good from the bad, 
who are filled- with pity for their misery, who take away their 
sorrow, and give happiness instead. What falls from the 
lips of such people, they listen to with great respect, and try 

to realize it in their bodily and mental acts What 

words come from them, they throw themselves entirely upon. 
Even these people, O Arjuna, are able to cross the stream of 
worldly existence (XTIL 1037 1047). So we see that Bhakti 
Yoga is here placed absolutely on a par with Samkhya Yoga, 
Dhyana Yoga, or Karma Yoga, and that a man, who follows 
the advice of the worthy Guru, is able to reach the Atman 
without undergoing the travail of walking on the other avenues. 

69. As misery is the essential feature of life, it follows 

I that whatever miseries may befall a man, 
The Search of God I he must try always to see God through 
through all Miseries. them. In fact, misery in this life could 
be relieved only by seeking after God. 
" How would it be possible that a man might rest in 
ease, when he is sitting in a boat with a hundred holes ? 
How would it be possible that a man might keep his body 
bare, when stones are being flung at him ? Is it possible for a 
diseased man to be indifferent to medicine ? When fire is burn- 
ing all round, must not one get away from its midst ? Simi- 
larly, when the world is full of misery, how would it be possible 
that a man should not pray to Me ? Upon what power do these 
people count, that they do not try to worship Me ? How can 
they rest content in their homes and in their enjoyments ? 
Of what value would their learning or their age be to them ? 
How can they acquire happiness without worshipping Me ? 
Life indeed is a fair where the wares of misery are being 


spread out, and death is measuring the destinies of men. How 
can one acquire happiness in such a state ? Can one hope 
to ignite a lamp by blowing through cooled ashes ? As one 
cannot grow immortal by taking the juice out of poisonous 
roots, so one can never acquire happiness in the miseries of 
life. Who has ever heard a tale of happiness in this world 
of mortals ? Can one sleep happily on a bed of scorpions ? 
Even the moon of this world is proverbially consumptive. 

Stars rise in this world only in order to set In the midst 

of auspiciousness comes harm. Death is encircling the foetus 

in the womb If we follow the track of those who have 

gone before us, wo cannot see any returning footprints. The 
histories and mythologies of this world are merely collections 
of death-stories. It is wonderful that people should live at 

ease in such a world ! As a child grows, people rejoice, 

but they do not know that it is approaching death. Every- 
day after birth, it is nearing death, and yet in joy these people 
raise auspicious flags. They cannot even bear the word 
death, and when people die, they cry after them ; but they 
cannot, in their folly, imagine that whatever is must pass away. 
Like a frog which is trying to eat a fish even while it is being 
itself devoured by a serpent, they arc trying to increase their 
avarice every day. Alas, born in this mortal world, 
Arjuna, get thyself hastily from it ; go by the path of Bhakti, 
so that thou mayest reach My divine home" (IX. 490 516). 
70. Psychologically, it seems that any intense emotion 

towards CJod is capable of leading us 

The Attainment of towards Him. Thus Jnanesvara tells us 

God through any In- that God could be attained either through 

tense Emotion. extreme love, or through extreme fear, 

or even through extreme hatred. "Those 
cowherd women thought about Me as a husband, and they 
reached My form. Kansa, the great demon, entertained 
mortal fear about Me, and he reached Me. Sisupala con- 
ceived intense hatred towards Me, and he became one with 
Me. The Yadavas loved Me as their relative ; Vasudeva 
loved Me as a child ; Narada, Dhruva, Akrura, Suka, and 
Sanatkumara loved Me as the supreme object of their devo- 
tion, and they all reached Me. I am indeed the sole end 
to be reached. One may reach Me by any means whatsoever, 
either by devotion, or by sexual love, or dispassion. or hatred" 
(IX. 465470). The purport of this passage is that if we 
begin by conceiving any intense emotion towards God, as 
lies in the nature of all intensive emotion, we end by becoming 
one with the end itself. 


71. Moreover, Jnanesvara offers the highest kind of con- 

solation to those who have lived wretched 
Hope for the Sinner, and sinful lives. He gives hope even to 

the fallen. He tells us that even these, if 
they but conceive love towards God, have in them the power 
of reaching God. The sinner, we are told, can and does 
become a saint. "Even though a man may be quite sinful at 
first, still by believing in Me, he becomes the best of men, 
as one, who is dying in an ocean, might just escape death 

in the waters No sin is too great to remain undestroyed 

in a supernal kind of devotion. Thus, if a sinful man just 
bathes in the waters of repentance, and comes inside the temple 
to Me with all devotion, his whole lineage becomes pure, and 
he becomes a man of noble birth. He alone has attained to 
the end of existence. He has learned all the sciences ; he has 
practised all the penances ; he has devoted himself to the 
practice of the eight- fold Yoga ; he has done all actions, 
provided he has fixed his heart in Me. Having filled all bis 
mental and intellectual impulses in the chest of single-minded 
devotion, he has thrown it, Arjuna, in Me. One need not 
suppose that such a one may become one with God after a while. 
He has already been in Me. He, who lives in immortality, 
how can death ever affect him ? His mind stands always in 
My presence, and he verily attains to My likeness. As when 
a lamp is lighted by a lamp, one cannot distinguish which 
was the earlier, and which later ; similarly, when he has 
begun to love Me, he has become one with Me, and there is no 
distinction between us" (IX. 418 428). 

72. As all sin is at an end in devotion to God, similarly, 
^ all considerations of caste - and birth are 

The Non-Recognition equally at an end. " Family matters 
of Castes in Devotion not ; one may be even a pariah by birth, 
to God. or one may even take on the body of a 

v beast. When the Elephant was seized 

by the Crocodile, and when the Elephant lifted up his trunk 
towards Me in utter resignation, his beasthood came to an end, 
and he verily reached Me. People, whose names it is a sin 
to* mention, who have been born in the midst of most sinful 
kinds of existences, who are the source of vices and folly, 
and who have been as stupid as stones, if such people come to 
love Me with all their heart, if their speech mentions only My, 
words, if their sight enjoys only My vision, if their mind thinks 
of nothing else except Me, if their ears refuse to hear anything 
except My name, if their limbs are devoted to the service of 
no other except Me, if their knowledge has no other object 


beyond Myself, if their consciousness is given to the contem- 
plation of nothing else except Me, if they find their existence 
justified only in doing these things, and if in the absence of 
these they experience mortal pain, if in this manner T become 
the sole engrossing object -of their attention in all ways, it 
matters not whether the^ are born sinful ; it matters not 
whether they have learned no sciences ; if thou weighest 
them against Me, thou shalt find them equal to Me. When 
characters are imprinted on a piece of leather by royal order, 
it can purchase anything whatsoever. Gold and silver are 
of no value unless they are sanctioned by the order of the 
king. On the other hand, even a piece of leather is superior 
to them in purchasing power, provided it is sanctioned by the 
king. In this way if a man's mind and knowledge become 
filled by My love, he becomes the best of mortals : he is the 
greatest among those who know. Thus, neither family, jnor 
cagte, nor colour^ are _of any avail in Me. What, is wanted 
jsTthe directing of th^mind towards ^le. Let a man approach 
]VIe with any motive whatsoever ; when he has reached Me, 
everything else becomes nought. We call brooks brooks only so 
long as they have not reached the waters of the Ganges ; but 
when they once reach the Ganges, they cease to be called 
brooks. There is a distinction between the Khaira and the 
Chandana trees only so long as they are not put into fire : but 
as soon as they are put inside it, they become one with it, and 
the distinction between them vanishes. Similarly, the Kshatri- 
yas, the Vaisyas, the 'Sudras, and Women are so-called only 
so long as they have not reached Me. But having reached 
Me, they cease to be distinguished ; as salt becomes one with 
the ocean, evdn so they become one with Me" (IX. 441- 401). 
73. Jimnesvara is indeed the originator of the Bhakti 

school of thought in Maharashtra, and he 

Bhakti, as the only tells us that God can be attained by 

Means for the Attain- Bhakti alone. " How very often should 

ment of God. I tell thee, O Arjuna, if thou longest 

after Me, worship Me. Care^not for the 
dignity of^Jbirth. Mind not the consideration of nobility. 
Throw away the burden, of learning. Cease to be inflated by 
the beauty of form and youth. If thou hast no devotion 
towards TWe, all this is as good as nought. If the Nimba tree 
produces an infinite number of Nimba fruits, it becomes only 

a feast to the crows If thou servest all kinds of dainty 

dishes ; in an earthen pot, and keepest it on the high-way, it 
becomes useful only for the dogs. He, who has no Bhakti for 
Me, isjouly inviting the miseries of existence" (IX. 430 440). 


On the other hand, " as the rain that droppeth from above 
knows no other place except the earth to fall upon, or as the 
Ganges with all the wealth of her waters searches the ocean 
and meets it over and over again ; similarly, the true devotee 
with all the riches of his emotions, and with unabated love, 
enters into My Being, and becomes one with Me. As the ocean 
of milk is milk all over, whether on the shore or in the middle 
of the sea, similarly, he should see Me as the supreme object 
of his love, from the ant onwards through .all existences" 
(XL 685- 690). Jiianesvara tells us that true devotion means 
the vision of such an identity through difference. This is indeed 
a philosophic way of describing the nature of devotion ; but 
it remains true at the same time that this identity must be 
experienced by the true devotee. " There is difference in the 
world ; but for that reason, knowledge does riot become differ- 
ent. There is difference between the limbs in the body, but 
they all belong to the body. Branches are small and great, 
and yet they grow on the same tree. The Sun sends an infinite 
number of rays, but they all belong to the Sun. Thus, in 
the midst of the difference of individualities, the difference of 
names, the difference of temperaments, one should know Me 
as unchanging through all the changes. Whatever one 
happens to see, and in what place soever he happens to see it, he 

should regard it all as non-different from Me: that is 

indeed the mark of devotion. It is Devotion which surpasses 
devotion" (IX. 250261). 

74. The first step in the advancement of spiritual life 

consists in rising from the life of sense 

The Sensual Life and to a belief in. God and in those who are 

the Spiritual Life. beloved of God. Jfianesvara makes 
Arjuna exclaim in the tenth Chapter that 
so long as the spiritual impulse was not generated in him, 
he had no liking for the saints and their words. " Many 
times before did the sages tell me of Thee, God ; but 
the reality of their words I now realize, because, I have 
been the object of Thy grace. The sage Narada used 
to come to me very often, and sing Thy glory in these words. 
But I could not catch the meaning of the words, and listened 
merely to the song. If the Sun shines in a village of the 
blind, they can only bask in the sunshine, and not be able 
to see the light. Similarly, when the divine sage used to sing 
the knowledge of Atman to us, 1 went to him merely for hear- 
ing the song, and not for understanding the idea therein. 
Asita and Devala likewise would talk to me about Thee,. But, 
at that time, my intellect was enveloped in sense. In a 


miraculous way does the poison of sense make the spiritual life 
taste bitter, and the bitter objects of sense appear sweet ! 
What of others ? The sage Vyasa himself used to come to 
the temple, and tell us of Thy glory. But it was all like one 
who could not see the wish- jewel in darkness, but could re- 
cognize it only when the day broke. Similarly, the words 
of Vyasa and others, even though they were as valuable as 
jewels, were neglected by me, Krishna ! But now that 
the Sun of your words has arisen, the paths which the former 
sages had told me of have come to be seen. Their words 
were verily the seed of knowledge, and they had fallen on 
the ground of my heart ; but they have borne fruit only 
when Thy grace has descended in showers. The rivers of 
the words of Narada and other sages have now become unified 

in me, who have become their Ocean Even though my 

elders had told me often about Thee, T could not know Thee, 
because Thy grace had not yet descended on me. Hence it is 
only when a man' state befriends him that all his efforts become 

successful The gardener spares no pains in sprinkling 

water over plants and trees ; but it is only when the spring 

sets in that they bear fruit Similarly, all the sciences 

that we may have studied, or all the Yoga that we may have 
practised, become successful only when the Guru sends down 
his grace" (X. 144- 172). 

75. How is the grace of the Guru to descend on the disci- 

ple ? Jiianesvara tells us that the only 
The Descent of Grace, way towards receiving his grace is to 

adore the saints. " They are the temple 
of knowledge ; our service constitutes its threshold ; we should 
take possession of it by resorting to it. We should touch their 
feet in body and mind and thought. We should do all sorts of 
service to them witli utter absence of egoism, and then they 
will tell us what we desire. Our mind shall forthwith cease to 
give rise to conjectures ; our intellect shall grow strong in the 

light of their words ; doubt shall cease ; all beings will 

then be seen as in God ; the darkness of infatuation will 
disappear ; the light of knowledge shall shine ; and the Guru 
will send down his grace" (IV. 105 171). 

76. Jfianesvcira tells us in a famous passage that one meets 

the Guru in the fulness of time. We 

One meets the Guru have only to prepare ourselves, and the 

in the Fulness oi Guru will find us. " One should regard 

Time. one's child, wealth, or wife as no more 

than a vessel of poison. When the in- 
tellect has been tormented by the objects of sense, it recoils 


upon itself, and enters the recesses of the heart. Then one 
begins to apply his mind directly to the contemplation of 

Atman When the remnant of our actions has been 

exhausted, and new actions cease to have any fruit, 

in that state of equanimity, the Guru meets us of his own 
accord ; as when the four quarters of the night have been 
exhausted, the Sun verily meets the eye. By his grace, ig- 
norance ceases as darkness ceases by light One thus goes 

beyond the knower and the known, and becomes transformed 
into knowledge ; as when the mirror is taken away from the 
face, the seer remains without seeing. In that way is action- 
lessness generated. This indeed constitutes the highest power 

of man This power does a man get, when the Guru 

sends down his grace on him Hare is the man who has 

been able to destroy all illusion at the moment at which he 

hears the words of his Guru ; when his words have 

fallen on his ear, he has become one with God" (XVT11. 9,18 
- 991). 

77. The means for attaining to this union is, as the up- 
holders of the Bhakti-marga have pointed 
The Celebration of ou ^ 5 ^he celebration of God's Name. 
GocT$ Name. " By that celebration, they have destroyed 

the raison d'etre of repentance. Sin has 
been banished out of the world. Self-control and restraint 
have ceased to have any efficacy. Places of pilgrimage have 
become of no avail. The way to the abode of Death has 
been destroyed. What can restraint restrain now ? What 
can self-control control ? What can places of pilgrimage 
purify ? There is no impurity which can be taken away. Thus 
by the celebration of My Name, they have put an end to the 
misery of the world. T he whole world has become full of joy. 
Such devotees create a dawn without a dawn. They infuse life 
without nectar. They show God's vision to the eyes of the 
people without the travail of Yoga. They know no distinc- 
tion between king and pauper, between great and small. 
All at once, they have filled the world with happiness. One 
among many mortals may go to the home of God after his 
death ; but these have brought down God upon earth. They 
have illumined the whole world by the celebration of My 
name. In lustre, they are equal to the Sun, and yet they 
are superior to him, because the Sun sets, and these do not 
set. The moon is only rarely full ; but these are always full. 

The rain-cloud is generous, but it may cease to rain 

They are right royal like a lion, but full of compassion. 'On 
their tongue, My name dances without interruption the 


Name which it would take a thousand births for one to be 
fortunate enough to utter. I do not live in Vaikuntha ; nor 
do I inhabit the disc of the Sun ; T traverse the heart of 
the Yogins ; but before those who celebrate My Name, I 
am to be always found if J am lost anywhere else. They 
have become so infatuated with My divine qualities that they 
have forgotten place and time, and I have been the source 
of joy to them in their vocation of God-celebration" (IX. 
197 209). 

78. As apart from this process of the celebration of the 
Name of God, there is also another pro- 
He Importance of cess which tries to mingle the meditation 
Practice in Spiritual on God's name with certain Yogic prac- 
Life. tices. The Itaja Yoga, if properly car- 

ried out, is not contradictory to the 
Bhakti Yoga, even though the Hatha Yoga stands in a different 
category. Hence the devotees very often mingle Kaja Yoga 
with Bhakti Yoga. " Strengthen thy mind with this practice. 
Even a lame man can cross the precipice of a mountain by right 
means. Similarly, by right study, show thy mind the way 
towards God, and care not whether the body lives or dies. 
The mind which carries us to different destinies will then 
win the Atman as its bride-groom, and the body shall cease 
to be of any consideration" (VIII. 81 83). There is this 
value in this kind of Yoga that it enables us to take our mind 
gradually towards God. " If you cannot deliver your 
heart immediately to God, then at least do this: think of 
God at least for a moment during the twenty- four hours of 
the day. Then every moment that you will spend in the 
enjoyment of My happiness will be of help to you in taking your 
mind away from sense. As, when autumn sets in, the river 
dwindles, similarly, your mind will gradually go out of the 
bonds of Samsfira ; and as, after the full-moon day, the disc 
of the moon diminishes every day, until it vanishes altogether 
on the new moon day, similarly, , as your heart will go out 
of the objects of sense and begin to enter into the Being 
of God, it will gradually end by becoming God. This indeed 
is what is called the Yoga of practice. 'I here is nothing im- 
possible for this practice. By this practice, some people 
have been able to move in the skies, others have tamed even 
tigers and serpents ; poison has been digested ; the ocean has 
been crossed ; the Yedas have been made to deliver over 
their entire secret. Hence there is nothing that is impossible 
fo* 'this practice. Do you, therefore, enter into Me by this 
practice" (XII. 104113). 


79. We are next told what place one should select for 

contemplation. "We should select a 

Description of Place place, which puts one into such a temper 

for Contemplation. of mind, that one does not like to get 

up when one has once sat down for medi- 
tation, and by looking at which dispassion may become 
strengthened. It ought to be a place where the saints 
have meditated on God. It ought to help our feeling 
of satisfaction, and endow the mind with the backbone of 

courage It ought to be a place, by looking at which 

even the agnostics and deniers of God may be put into a 
mood of contemplation. Those who cannot stand quiet 
for a moment, the place should make quiet. Those who 
roam, it ought to compel to sit down. If dispassion is slum- 
bering, it ought to be awakened by merely looking at the 
place. Kings should be tempted to resign their kingdoms, 
and live calmly in meditation in such a place. Even so, 
those whose minds are full of sexual love should throw it 

away, as soon as they have looked at such a place. 

It ought to be a place where the practisers of Yoga have 
come together. It must not be contaminated by the dust 
of the feet of the laity. It should be a place where there are 
trees, yielding fruits all the year round, and which are sweet 
like nectar to the very root. At every step we must be able 
to find water in such a place, even when it is not the rainy 
season. Springs should be particularly easy of access. The 
sunlight must appear cool. The wind must be motionless, 
or blow very slowly. It ought to be a place where no sounds 
are heard ; where beasts of prey do not wander ; where there 
are neither parrots nor bees. Occasionally, there might be 
some ducks, or swans, or a few Chakravaka birds, or even a 
cuckoo. Similarly, peacocks may come intermittently to such 
a place. In such a place, one should find out a monastery, or 
a teihple of Siva, and there sit for meditation" (VI. 163- 174). 

80. After sitting for meditation in such a place, one of 

the earliest effects of success in Yoga 
The Serpent and the would* be the awakening of the Kun da- 
Sound. Kni. " When the Kundalini is awakened 

and takes possession of the heart, then 
the uristruck sound begins to be heard. The Kundalini begins 
to be slowly aware of this sound. During the peal of sound, 
the pictorial representations of the Pranava emerge before 
consciousness. 'Lhis requires difference of subject and object. 
But, it may well be asked how can the subject remain differ- 
ent from the object in this state of contemplation ? What 

Ill] THE jNANfcSVAkl 117 

then is it that resounds ? I forgot, Arjuna, to tell you that 
as the wind cannot be destroyed, the very sky begins to have 
tongues and resounds accordingly. By that unstruck sound, 
the whole of space becomes filled, and the window at the 
Brahma-randhra opens of itself" (VI. 274 279). 

81. Jnanesvara, however, is not unaware of the difficul- 

ties that beset the practitioner of Hatha 

The Difficulties of the Yoga, who goes on meditating without 

Life of Yoga. having an iota of devotion in him. Such 

a man's state he describes in the twelfth 
Chapter, contrasting it with the fate of a man who follows 
the path of Bhakti. " Those who spread their motives so as 
to reach the good of all beings in the supportless unmanifest 
Absolute, without an iota of devotion, are robbed of all their 
strength on their way by the allurements of the kingdom of the 

gods, and of prosperities and prowesses Thirst kills 

thirst, and hunger eats up hunger. Their up-stretched hands 
ceaselessly measure the wind. They clothe themselves in 
extremes of heat and cold, and live in mansions of rain. This 
is all verily like entering into fire, O Arjuna. It is what one 

may call a husband-less Yoga Those, therefore, who 

follow this path, have only misery reserved for themselves. 
If a man who has lost his teeth, were to eat morsels of iron-' 

beads, tell Me whether he will live or die A lame man 

must not hope to compete with wind. Similarly, those, 
who have taken on a body, cannot reach the Absolute. In 
spite of this, if courageously they begin to wrestle with the 
sky, they will make themselves the objects of infinite misery. 
On the other hand, those, Arjuna, who go by the path of 
Bhakti, can never experience such hardships on their way to 
Cod" (XII. 60-75). 

82. The true Bhakta must find God everywhere, within 

himself as well as without himself. 

Meditation on God as " Therefore, thou shouldst remember Me 

everywhere. always. Whatever thou seest by the eye, 

or hearest by the ear, or thinkest by the 
mind, or speakest by the mouth, whatever is internal or ex- 
ternal, should be identified with Me, and then thou shalt 
find that I alone am everywhere and at all times. When such 
a state is experienced, Arjuna, one cannot die even when 
the body departs. Why then do you fear the fight in which 
you are engaged ? If thou resignest thy mind and intellect 
to Me, then thou shalt certainly come into My Being. If 
thou eritertainest any doubt as to whether this will happen 
or not happen, then begin practising, and if thou dost not: 


succeed, then say that this is false" (VIII. 75 0). As 
God is to be identified with every mental experience, simi- 
larly, He is to. be identified with every objective existence. 
Did not Arjuna, when he saw the Visvarupa, find God every- 
where outside him? "Tell me where thou art not, God! 
Salutation to Thee, as Thou art in Thyself ! " Thus did Arjuna 
bow down with a passionate heart, and said again, "Saluta- 
tion, salutation to Thee, God! " He again looked long- 
ingly at the form of God, and said, "Salutation, salutation 
to Thee, God!" He saw Him endwise, and his heart was 
delighted, and he said again, " Salutation, salutation to Thee, 
God!" He saw all these beings movable or immovable 
and saw God in them, and said again, "Salutation, salutation 
to Thee, () God !" He could not remember any words of 
praise, nor could he afford to remain silent. He was filled 
with love, and ejaculated in ecstasy "Salutation to Thee 
God, who art before me ! What use is it to us to consider 
whether God is before or behind ? Salutation to Thee, O God, 
who art also behind me. Thou standest at my back, and there- 
fore 1 say that Thou art behind ; but really speaking, there 
is neither before nor behind to Thee. Incompetent that I am 
to describe Thy various limbs, I say to r i hee who comprisest 
all, Salutation, salutation to Thee, God!" (XI. 51 19 532.) 
83. Light seems to be one of the chief forms in which 

God reveals Himself. " That which is older 

The Atman as than the sky and which is smaller than 

Light. the atom ; by whose presence the whole 

world moves ; that which gives birth to 
everything ; that by which the world lives ; that which sur- 
passes all contemplation ; that which even by day-light is as 
darkness to the physical eye, as the white ant cannot gnaw into 
fire, nor can darkness enter into light ; that, on the other 
hand, which is as eternal day to the knower ; that which con- 
tains an infinitude of light-rays, and which knows no setting " 
(VIII. 87- 90), is the description of the photic experience of 
Jnanesvara. Jnanesvara also tells us that God is like a beacon- 
light of camphor which moves onwards to show the way to 
the seeking mystic, and which, after the destruction of the 
darkness of ignorance, shines as eternal day (X. 142- 143). 
In the same way, in the eleventh Chapter, he tells us of the 
infinite lustre of the Atman. " r l he lustre of the body of God 
was simply indescribable. It was like the combining of the 
lights of twelve suns at the time of the great conflagration. 
The thousand celestial suns, that rise at once in the sky, could 
not have matched the infinite lustre of the Atman. Had all 


the lightnings been brought together, had all the fires at the 
time of the Great End been mingled together, had all the 
ten great lights been fused into one, it would have been im- 
possible for them to compare with the lustre of the great God. 
Thus was the greatness of God's light. His lustre shone all 
around, and I saw it by the grace of the Sage" (XI. 237- 
241). Is this last to be regarded as a touch of Jnanesvara's 
personal experience, though it is put in the mouth of Sanjaya ? 

84. Jiianesvara describes the morphic experience of the 

mystic when he tells us how Arjuna saw the 

The Atman seen great Form of God. "His mind was tossed 

within and without. by looking at the sublimity of each of 

His forms, and he could not know whether 
God was sitting, or standing, or only reclining. He opened his 
eyes, and saw the whole world full of the Form of God. He 
shut his eyes, and saw the same thing within himself. He 
saw an infinite number of faces before him, and as he turned 
back his gaze, he saw the same faces and hands and feet 
even in other directions. What wonder that one is able to 
see God by looking at FJim ? It is a wonder that He can be 
seen without looking at Him. It was really by His grace that 
He fused within Himself both the vision and the non-vision 
of Arjuna, and He became the All ; and as Arjuna, who was 
coming to the shore of one miracle, fell again into the ocean of 
another miracle. For, the intuitive vision, that was im- 
parted by God, was not like other kinds of vision, which are 
able to operate only in the light of the Sun, or the lamp" 
(XL 226- 234). To the vision of Arjuna, the upward and 
the nether worlds, the sky and the earth and the intermun- 
dane region, all ceased to exist, and he saw God everywhere, 
and he began to exclaim: " Whence have You come, 
God ? Art You sitting or standing ? Who was the mother 
in whose womb You resided ? What indeed is Your measure ? 
What is Your form and age ? What lies behind You ? What is 
it that You are standing on ? Considering these things, 1 see 
that You are the All. You are Your own support, You belong to 
none, and You are beginningless. You are neither standing nor 

sitting, neither long nor short. You are both up and down 

This 1 saw as I contemplated on Your form" (XL 271 --279). 

85. There is a passage in the Jiiaiiesvari where Jnancsvara 

is describing the way in which one comes 

The Realization of to realize the Self. This description is 

the Self. bound to be a little different from the de- 

: ! scription of the Visvarupa in the eleventh 

Chapter, because while the subject-matter of the eleventh 


Chapter was the vision of the universal Atman, the subject- 
matter of the passage in the fifteenth Chapter, which we 
are now discussing, is the realization of the Self. "When 
the tree of unreality has been cut down by the sword of Self- 
knowledge, then one is able to see one's form, one's 

own Self. This is, however, not to be compared to the vision 
of the reflection in a mirror ; for the reflection in a mirror is 
simply an * other ' of the seeing man. The vision of the indi- 
vidual Self is as a Spring which may exist in its own fulness 
even when it does not come up into a Well. When water 
dries up, the image goes back to its prototype ; when the 
pitcher is broken, space mixes with space ; when fuel is burnt, 
tire returns into itself ; in a similar way is the vision of the 

Self by the Self One must see without seeing. One must 

know without knowing. r lhat is the primary Being from 

which everything comes It is for seeing this original 

Being that seekers have gone by the path of Yoga, after having 
become disgusted with life, and with the firm determination 

that they would not return again They have given 

over their egoism, and have reached their Original Home. 
That is this Existence, which exists in itself and for itself, as 
cold becomes cold by cold, or snow becomes snow by snow, 
. . . .after reaching which, there is no return" (XV. 266 283). 
86. Jnanesvara tells us very often that he who has realized 

the happiness of Atman, ceases to have 

The Acme of Happi- ipso facto any desire for sensual enjoyment. 

ness. "He, who does not return to the world 

of sense from his life in Atman,-- there is 
no wonder that such a man should cease to care for sensual 
enjoyment. His mind has become full of the happiness of the 
Self ; it does not, therefore, dare to move out of itself to the 
world of sense. Tell Me, Arjuna, whether the Chakora 
bird, which lives upon the rays of the moon on the disc of a 
lotus-petal, ever goes and kisses the sand ? Similarly, he who 
has enjoyed the happiness of the Self, lives in himself ; and 
there is no wonder that he should leave all sensual enjoyment" 
(V. 105-108). Ihe same idea is repeated in the twelfth 
Chapter where we are told that there is nothing comparable 
to the happiness of the Self, and that therefore sensual en- 
joyment ceases to have any attraction for the mystic. "He 
has become the world himself, and therefore all notion of differ- 
ence vanishes. Similarly, all hatred forthwith ceases. That 
which really belongs to Him, namely, life in the Self, shall 
never depart. Hence he does not grieve for the loss of any 
object, nor has he any craving for any object ; for there is 

Ill] THfc jNANESVARi i2l 

nothing outside him. If he, who has thus become realization 
incarnate, adds to it a devotion towards Me, then there is 
nothing like him which I would so much love" (XII. 190 
196). " He is so engrossed in the happiness of his own Self, 
that he does not care for any powers that may accrue to him. 
Living in the beautiful mansion of his own Self, he regards the 
palace of Indra as useless ; how can he then be satisfied with 
the hut of a forester ? He, who does not care even for nectar, 
shall a fortiori not care for rice-water. Similarly, he who has 
enjoyed the happiness of the Self, does not care^for any powers 

Regard him alone as having had a firm station in Me, 

who is content with the knowledge of Self, who feeds on the 
highest joy, who drives away all egoism, leaves away all pas- 
sion, becomes the. world, and moves in the world" (II. 362 
367). Finally, Jnanesvara puts into the mouth of Arjuna 
the extollation of the great joy of the Self. "That, of which 
the gods partook at the time of the great churning, is falsely 
called Nectar, as contrasted with this great bliss. If that little 
so-called nectar has such a sweetness, how much more sweet 
shall this great bliss be ? One need not churn the ocean by 
the stick of the Mandara mountain to obtain spiritual joy. 

It comes of itself to the seeker It is so powerful in its 

effects that even at the hearing of it, the worldly existence 
ceases, and eternity forces itself upon us. All talk about 
birth and death is at an end. Internally and externally, 

one begins to be filled with the highest bliss In addition, 

God's presence is near, and one is surely able to hear His 
sweet words" (X. 192- 200). That is indeed the acme of 
happiness for the spiritual seeker. 

87. After the discussion of this spiritual happiness which 
accrues to the spiritual realizer, we must 
The Bodily Effects take note of the bodily, mental, and moral 
of God-realization. effects that are seen in the man who has 
realized God. And in a discussion of 
these various effects, we must first take account of the bodily 
effects of God-realization. Here, we must note that the God- 
realizer immediately rises superior to the considerations of the 
body. "Let the body now live or depart. I am the Atman 
himself. The serpent, which appears like a rope, is false ; 
the rope alone is real. The waves on the water are unreal ; 
the water alone is real. It is not born in the shape of waves, 
nor is it destroyed in that shape Similarly, the consider- 
ations of body have ceased to exist for the God-realizer, and 
he does not care when it ceases to be. What path is it neces- 
sary for him to find now ? Where and when will he go, if he 


has become identical with all space and time ? Granted, that 
when the pitcher breaks the space within it mixes with the 
space outside ; does it follow therefrom that there was no 

space in the pitcher before it broke down ? Therefore, 

O Arjuna, practise the path of Yoga ; for in that way, you 
will attain to equanimity ; and then let the body live or go 
in any manner it likes. Thou art ever identical with the 
Atman himself" (VIII. 248-257). 

88. To this indifference to the bodily condition the Yogin 

has attained by a long practice. Indifier- 
Thc Mental Effects ence to body is the result of a long pro- 
of God-realization. cess f Yg a > in which, by concentrated 
mind, he meditated on God, as directed 
by his spiritual teacher. "As a result of his devoted con- 
centration, he becomes full, inside and outside, of Sattvika 
qualities. The strength of his egoism disappears. He forgets 
the objects of sense. The senses lose their power. The mind 
remains folded in the heart. In this manner, one should sit on 
his seat so long as the unitive feeling exists. Then body shall 

hold body, wind wind, activity shall recoil upon itself, 

ecstasy shall be reached, and the object of meditation will 
be gained immediately that one sits for meditation " (VI. 
186191). And as the body comes under control, the senses 
and the mind also come under control. "The senses indeed 
are deceptive, Arjuna. Does not the tongue regard as un- 
wholesome the medicine which is bitter, in taste, but which 
has the power to strengthen life and avert death ? Whatever 
is really beneficial, the senses always show as unwholesome 

The practice of Yoga, which I told you and which 

involves the strength of the Asana, may, if at all, bring the 
senses under control. It is only when these are brought 
under control, that the mind is able to find itself. It recoils 
upon itself, and feels its identity with the Self. When this 
experience is obtained, one reaches the empire of happiness, 
and then loses oneself by merging in the Self" (VI. 361-367). 

89. Let us now turn to the moral characteristics of the 

God-realizer. "He is firmly fixed in the 

The Moral Effects form fc>f God internally, but behaves like 

of God- realization. an ordinary man externally. He does not 

command his senses, nor is he afraid of 

the objects of sense ; and whatever is to be done, he does at 

the proper time. He does not feel any necessity for training 

up his sense-organs while doing actions, nor is he affected 

by their influence. Desire has no power over him. He never 

becomes infatuated, and is as clean as a lotus-leaf when 


it is sprinkled with water. He lives in the midst of contacts, 
and looks like an ordinary man. But he is not affected by 
them, as the Sun's disc is not affected by the water in which 
it is reflected. If we look at him in an external way, he looks 
like an ordinary man ; but if we try to determine his real 
nature, we cannot really know him. It is by these marks that 
one ought to know the man who has conquered the thraldom 
of Samsara" (111. 68-74). We find the characteristics of a 
God-realizer according to Jnancsvara in another passage also. 
In the sixth Chapter, Jnanesvara tells us that even though 
such a sage seems to have taken on a body, he is equal, in fact, 
to the great God, because he has subdued all his senses. " He 
looks upon a piece of gold which is as large as the mountain 
Meru, or even an insignificant lump of earth, as of equal count. 
Again, he looks equally at a price-less jewel, which could not 
be purchased by the riches of the whole earth, as well as a 
piece of stone. Whom can he now regard as his brother, or 
who can be his enemy ? He cares equally for all, and obtains 
the vision of world-unity. He is himself the supreme place 
of pilgrimage. His very sight is meritorious. In Ins company, 
even an infatuated man may enter into the being of God. 
By his words, religion lives. His look is the cause of the highest 
prosperity. The happiness of the heavenly world is merely 
a play to him ; and if one were to remember him even acci- 
dentally, one may acquire so much merit as to be equal to 
him" (VI. 92104). Jnanesvara elsewhere tells us that " the 
ideal sage is always like the full moon, and spreads his light 
on good and bad things equally. His equanimity is un- 
broken. His compassion for all the beings of the earth is 
unsurpassed. His mind never undergoes any change. He is 
never filled by delight on account of something good, nor does 
he fall a prey to dejection when anything bad occurs. The 
ideal sage, therefore, is without joy, and without sorrow, and 
always full of the knowledge of the Self" (II. 297300). 
90. In a passage in the fifteenth Chapter of the Jiianesvari 

we have a metaphorical description of the 

Metaphorical descrip- nmn who has reached Self-realization. " His 

tion of a man who has mind has been deserted by infatuation, as 

realized God. the sky is deserted at the end of the rainy 

season by the clouds. As the plantains of a 
plantain-tree, when they grow ripe, fall down of themselves, 
similarly his actions drop down automatically. As when a 
tree is on fire, the birds that have perched on it fly off in all 
directions, similarly, a man who has had the fire of realization 
kindled in him, is left by all doubts. As iron does not find 


the 'parisa' stone, nor darkness light, similarly his mind does 
not know any sense of duality. The sage is a royal swan, 
who separates the water of the not-Self from the milk of the 
Self, and feeds upon the latter. He collects together by his 
spiritual vision the form of the Godhead, which, in the ab- 
sence of the knowledge of the Self, is dispersed in different 
directions. His discrimination merges in the determination 
of the nature of Atman, as the stream of the Ganges merges 
in the Ocean. As a mountain on fire cannot give rise to 
sprouts, similarly, his mind cannot give rise to passions. As 
the Mandara mountain, which once served as a churning stick, 
remained motionless when taken away from the ocean of milk, 
similarly, his mind does not know the surges of passions. As 
the full moon is full on all sides, similarly, having realized 
the Self, he exhibits no deficiency of desire in any quarter" 
(XV. 284304). 

91. We have a further description of the marks by which 

we should know a man who has reached 
The crest-jewel of identity with God, in the fourteenth Chap- 
those who know. tor of the Jnanesvari. "The ideal sage is 

like the Sun who does not know the dis- 
tinction between the evening, the morning, and the noon. 
Like the ground on which a battle has taken place, he neither 
conquers, nor is conquered. He looks as indifferent as a 

guest called to dinner, or as a post on the cross- way 

Nevertheless, as by the existence of the Sun all actions take 
place, similarly, by the existence of such a man, the world 
goes on. The ocean becomes full, the moon-stone oozes, the 
lotuses blow, but the moon remains silent. The wind comes 
and goes, and yet the sky is motionless. Similarly, the quali- 
ties may come and go, but they do not affect the mind of such 
a man" (XIV. 320- 348). "Happiness and sorrow affect a man 
only when he lives like a fish in the waters of bodily feelings 

But when he lives in his own Self, happiness is to him 

on a par with misery. To the pillar in a house, night is as 
good as day ; similarly, to him, who lives in the Self, all duali- 
ties are equal. As when a man is sleeping, the serpent is as 
good as a maiden, similarly, to him who lives in his Self, all 

opposite qualities are equal Praise and blame are equal 

to him, as darkness arid flame are equal to the sun. As the 
sky remains unaffected during all the seasons, similarly no 

quality does affect his mind The fruits of his actions 

have been burnt, because he has been fire incarnate" (XTV. 
350366). "He has a one-pointed devotion towards Me, 
and therefore he is able to burn the influence of qualities. 


What is now one-pointed devotion ? As the lustre of the 

jewel is the jewel itself, as the liquidity of water is water, 
as space is the sky, as sweetness is sugar, as consoli- 
dated ice is the Himalaya mountain, as congealed milk i$ 
curds, similarly, the whole world is Myself. Do not* therefore, 
deny the world to find Me. I include the whole world in 
Me. Experience such as this means one-pointed devotion, and 
My devotee has got this one-pointed devotion" (XIV. 372 
382). "As a particle of gold becomes one with gold, as a 

ray of light merges in light, as pieces of ice constitute 

the Himalaya mountain, similarly, the individual selves make 
God. The waves may be small, and yet they are one with 

the ocean Experience, such as this, is real devotion" 

(XIV. 383- 388). "This is the acme of all knowledge. This 
is the goal of all Yoga : as deep may call unto deep, and the 
two may be connected by incessant showers ; as the image 
may become one with the original by the contact of light ; 

similarly, the Self is connected with Cod Fire ceases 

after having burnt the fuel, similarly, knowledge ceases by 
having destroyed itself. I am not on one side of the ocean, 
and the devotee on the other. Ihere is a beginningless unity 

between us He who knows this is verily the crest-jewel 

of those who know" (XIV. 389-401). 
92. In a famous passage of the eleventh Chapter, Jnanesvara 

gives us an insight into the physical and 

Description of psychological effects of God- vision. This 

Mystic Emotions. niay be regarded as a description of the 

Eight pure Emotions famous in the Indian 
Psychology of Mysticism. " The duality that so long existed 
between the Self and the world, now ceased to exist. The mind 
became immediately composed. Internally there was a feeling 
of joy. On the outside, the strength of the limbs faded away. 
From top to toe, the aspirant became full of horripilation, 
as at the beginning of the rainy season the body of a mountain 
becomes over-spread by grass. Drops of sweat crept over his 
body, as drops of water creep on the , moon-stone when it is 
touched by the rays of the moon. As an unblown lotus swings 
to and fro on t}ie surface of water on account of the bee which 
is enclosed within its petals, similarly, the body of the devotee 
began to shake on account of the feelings of internal bliss. 
As particles of camphor drop down when the womb of the 
camphor-plant is full-blown, similarly, tears of joy tricklecj 
down from his eyes. As the sea experiences tide after tide 
when the moon has arisen, similarly, his mind experienced 
surge after surge of emotion from time to time. Thus all 


the eight Sattvika emotions began to compete in the mind 
of the mystic, and he sat on the throne of divine joy" (XI. 
245-252). This description of Arjuna is, it may easily be 
seen, applicable mutatis mutandis to Jnane^vara himself. 

93. We must not fail to notice, however, the corttpeti- 

tion of the feelings of fear and joy in 

Competition of the the mind of the advancing mystic, as 

Emotions of Fear and typically illustrated in the case of Arjuna. 

Joy. When God showed His universal form 

to Arjuna, his mind was so terror- 
struck that he said to Krishna, "I do not care whether this 
earthly pall lives or goes ; but by Thy great power, even my 
consciousness seems to disappear. My whole body is shaking. 
My mind is becoming tormented. My intellect is experiencing 
the panic of losing even its T-ness. My inner Self, which is 
by nature full of joy, is itself experiencing a feeling of remorse. 
How terrific is this power of realization, God ! My know- 
ledge has been banished to the other world, and we shall eft- 
soons cease to exist as pupil and teacher" (XI. 3(36 370). 
As contrasted with the feeling of terror, stands the feeling 
of the joy of union. Fear is experienced on account of the 
terrificness of the realization ; but joy is experienced on ac- 
count of its novelty and uniqueness. All sense of duality 
disappears in such a unitive experience, and that is itself the 
source of infinite bliss. "One does not experience a feeling 
of difference in such a state, as a bird tastes a fruit as different 
from itself. In that ecstatic state, a kind of experience arises, 
which destroys all egoism, and clings fast to bliss. In that 
state of embrace, the feeling of union arises of itself, as water 
under water becomes one with water. As, when the wind 
is lost in the sky, the duality between them disappears, simi- 
larly, in that ecstatic embrace, bliss alone survives 

Duality is undoubtedly at an end, but we cannot even call this 
the state of unitive experience, for there is not even one to 
experience the state of union" (V. 131- 135). 

94. Jnanesvara, however, is careful to point out that such 

a state is to be only rarely experienced, 

Rare is the man who and that it is not the lot of every seeker 

reaches the end. after spiritual life. In the seventh 

Chapter, he tells us that rare must be 
the man who reaches the end. "Out of thousands of men, 
scarcely one has got resolution enough, and out of many such 
resolute men, there is rarely one who really comes to know. 
Just as out of innumerable people in the world, rarely one 
here and there is selected to be a soldier, and out of such 


innumerable ones is made an army, but among these there is 
scarcely one who enjoys the hand of victory when iron is 
penetrating into his flesh, similarly, in the great flood of 
devotion, thousands of people enter, but scarcely one reaches 
the other end of the stream" (VII. 10- 13). 

95. Jnanesvara is also careful to point out that perfection 

in mystical life can be attained only 
Perfection can be gradually. One must not expect to reach 
attained only gradu- the end immediately that one has entered 
ally. the path. "Granted that all the intel- 

lectual preparation is made for the realiz- 
ation of God ; granted also that one meets with the Guru, and 
that he imparts to him the knowledge of the true path ; but, 
is one able to attain to one's original health as soon as one has 
taken the medicine ? Or does it follow that when the sun has 
arisen, he immediately reaches the zenith ? Granted that 
the field is well-tilled and watered ; granted also that the 
seed that is sown is good of its kind ; but it is only in time 
that a rich harvest could be reaped. Similarly, granted that 
the true path is known ; granted that company with the 
good is attained ; granted that dispassion has been generated, 
and real discrimination formed ; it will however take time 
to know that the One alone is, namely God, and that all else 

is nought To experience the unitive life in Brahman is a 

matter of only gradual attainment. Even though various 
kinds of dishes may be served before a hungry man, still he 
attains to satisfaction only by morsel after morsel. In a simi- 
lar way, by the help of dispassion if one lights up the lamp 
of discrimination, that light will enable one ultimately to find 
out God" (XVIII. 996 1008). 

96. Jfianesvara further tells us in his final Chapter, which 

is also the culmination of his philosophy, 
Asymptotic approxi- that one can only make an asymptotic 
mation to God. approximation to God instead of be- 
coming God oneself. He employs a series 
of metaphors to tell us how the life in God is attained, and 
how in the atonement one reaches God so nearly as to be 
only just short of Him. " By putting on himself the armour 
of dispassion, the mystic mounts the steed of Rajayoga, 
and by holding the weapon 6f concentration in the firm grip 
of discrimination, he wards off small and great obstacles be- 
fore him. He goes into the battle-field of life, as the Sun moves 
into darkness, in order to win the damsel of Liberation. He 
cuts to pieces the enemies that come in his way, such as egoism, 
arrogance, desire, passion, and others Then all the 


virtues come to welcome him as vassals before a king At 

every step as he is marching on the imperial road of spiritual 
life, the damsels of the psychological States come to receive 
and worship him. Maidens of the Yogic Stages come and 
wave lights before him. Powers and Prosperities assemble 
round about him in thousands to see the spectacle, and rain 
over him showers of flowers, and as he is thus approaching 
the true Swarajya, all the three worlds appear to him full of 
joy. Then there is neither enemy nor friend to him. For 
there is equality all around, and there is neither 'mine' nor 

4 thine' Thus, when all the enemies have been conquered 

and the world is mortified, his Yogic steed begins to take rest. 
That armour of dispassion, which had clung closely to his 
body hitherto, he now tries to loosen somewhat, and as there 
is no other before him, his hand takes back the weapon of 

concentration ; and as one in sight of the goal, begins 

to walk slowly, similarly, by coming in the vicinity of God, 
he lets loose his practice. As the Ganges loses its speed as it 
comes near the ocean, as a wife loses her tremor before her 
husband, as the plantain tree ceases to grow when the plan- 
tains become ripe, or as a way entering into a town ends inside 
it, similarly, as he finds that he comes to realize the Self, he 

slowly puts aside his weapon of meditation ; and as 

the moon on the fourteenth day of the bright half of the month 
is just short of the size on the full-moon day, as gold of fifteen 
carats is just short of gold of sixteen carats, and as one can 
distinguish between the sea and the river by the stillness and 
motion of their waters, similarly, to that extent only is the 
difference between God and the God-realizer. He attains to 
God, falling only just short of His entire Being" (XVIII. 

97. We shall now go on to consider the problem of the Com- 
munion of the Saint and God as discussed 

God, the sole en- by JnaneSvara. We are told by Jnanes- 
grossing object of the vara that the Saint has God alone for his en- 
Saint, grossing object. " As he was walking alone 
in the night of his earthly life, the dawn 
of the destruction of Karman broke upon him, and after the 
twilight of the grace of his Guru, he began to experience the 
early morning-light of Self-knowledge. There, with his eyes, 
he saw the great vista of equality. At that time, wherever he 
cast his eye, I was before him ; and if he remained silent, there 
was I also. He could not direct his sight anywhere without 
seeing Me. Just as when a pitcher is submerged under water, 
it is filled with water both externally as well as internally, 


similarly, he is within Me and I am within and beyond him. 
This is a matter, not of words, but of actual experience, 
Arjuna" (VII. 130-134). 

98. It follows from the love that the devotee bears to 

God, that he bears equal love towards 
The Communion of those who bear the same love towards Him. 
Saints. Jiianesvara, in a passage of the tenth 

Chapter, describes beautifully the inter- 
communion of such devotees of (iod among themselves. "In 
their hearts, they have become one with Me. I have become 
their life. By the force of their realization, they have forgotten 
life and death. By the power of that great illumination, 
they dance with the happiness of communion. They now 
give to each other illumination of Self, and nothing else. As 
two lakes, which are in close proximity to each other, send 
their waves into one another, and as the mingling waves 
form as it were a crest-house for them, similarly, the waves 
of the joy of the two lovers of God mix with each other, and 
become ornaments of illumination for either. As the Sun may 
wave lights before the Sun, or as the Moon may embrace the 
Moon, or as in full equality one stream may mix with another, 
similarly, the equal love of these Saints makes a happy con- 
fluence, on the top of which rise the eight Sattvika emotions. 

Then by the power of that great happiness, they run 

out of themselves, and being filled with Me, they begin to 
proclaim Me to the world. The word, which had passed 
between pupil and teacher in their privacy, these Saints now 
proclaim to the whole world like a rumbling cloud. As when 
the unblown lotus-flower begins to blow out, it cannot contain 
within itself its own fragrance, and therefore distributes its 
virtue to king and pauper alike, in that way, they proclaim 
Me to the whole world, and in the joy of proclamation, they 
forget the fact of proclaiming, and in that happy forgetfulness, 
they sink their body and mind" (X. 119 -128). 

99. Jiianesvara tells us time after time that the devotee 

is dearer to Uod than anything or any- 

The Devotee is the body else. "That secret which He did 

Beloved: God is the not impart to His father Vasudeva, nor 

Lover. to His mother Devaki, nor even to His 

brother Balibhadra, Krishna imparted to 
His devotee, Arjuna. Even His wife Laxmi, who was in such 
near presence to Him, could not enjoy the happiness of His 
love. All the power of the love of Krishna has been made 
over to Arjuna. The hopes of Sanaka and others had run 
extraordinarily high ; but even they could not partake of the 


fulness of that love. The love of God towards Arjuna seems to 
be incomparable indeed. What merits must he have in store 
that he deserved such a state ? " (IV. 811.) We thus see from 
this passage that the devotee is nearer to the heart of God 
than anybody else. In one passage of the twelfth Chapter, 
Jnanesvara even speaks of God as the lover, and the Devotee 
as his beloved. This, however, he tells us under the influence 
of that erotic mysticism, which finds the relation between 
husband and wife to be the nearest analogue to the relation 
of God and Devotee. " He who knows no hatred of any being ; 
who like the earth neither upholds the good nor dis- 
cards the evil; who like water does not assuage the 

thirst of the cow, nor kill the tiger by becoming poison ; who 
thus has friendship with the whole world and is as it were 
the fount of pity ; who knows no egoism ; who has no sense of 
mine-ness ; to whom happiness is as good as sorrow ; who in 
point of sufferance is equal to the earth ; who has given con- 
tentment a constant abode in his heart ; in whose mind the 
individual Self and the universal Self both live together in 
close unison ; who having achieved the highest stage of Yoga, 

delivers over his mind and intellect to Me; he alone, 

Arjuna, is the true devotee. He alone is the true Yogin. 
He alone is truly absolved. The relation between us is the 

relation between wife and husband r l o talk about these 

tilings itself brings a sweet infatuation. I would rather have 
not spoken these words, had not My love made me speak of it ! 
Happy am 1 that T have reached this happy contentment. 
As soon as these words were uttered, God Krishna began to 
nod in joy" (XII. 144- 163). 

100. Jnanesvara tells us that the office of God is always 
for the welfare of the Saint. "They who 
The office of God have given themselves over to Me with all * 
for the welfare of the their heart like a foetus in the womb, 
Saint. which knows no activity on its own ac- 

count ; to whom there is nothing higher 
than Me ; who regard Me as their very life ; and who Avorship 
Me with a constant one-pointed devotion ; these themselves 
become the objects of worship at My hands. At the very 
moment that they followed Me with all their heart, all their 
burden of life has fallen upon Me. Whatever they intend to 
do, I must then Myself accomplish for them, as the mother- 
bird undertakes every trouble for the life of her young ones. 
As the mother knows no thirst, nor hunger, and does of her 
own accord what is good for her child, similarly, I do everything 
for those who have given over their minds to Me. If they aspire 


after becoming one with Me, I accomplish it for them. If they 
want to do Me service, 1 give them love by which they may 
do so. Whatever thus they intend in their minds, I gradually 
begin to make over to them, and whatever 1 thus make over, f 
try to consummate in course of time" (IX. 335- 342). JnaneS- 
vara tells us again in another passage that His devotees need 
never entertain any anxiety for their material and spiritual 
welfare. "They are doing duties that are proper for them ac- 
cording to their caste. They obey the law, and discard every 
thing that is not sanctioned by morality. They deliver their 

actions to Me, and thus burn their results The goal of all 

their bodily, mental, and verbal activity, is I Myself 

They are meditating on My form With one-pointed de- 
votion, they have sold their mind and body to Me. Tell Me, 
Arjuna, what shall I not do for them ? Is it possi- 
ble that My devotees be ever troubled by any anxiety for 
their worldly life ? Does the wife of a prince go begging 
alms ?" (XII. 7685.) In a similar spirit, we are told in the 
tenth Chapter that God fulfils all the desires of His Saints. 
"By the plenitude of their love, they have washed off the 
distinction between night and day, and are enjoying My im- 
maculate happiness What I now do for them is to make 

their happiness increase, and turn the gaze of accident from 
their enjoyment of bliss. As by covering her dear child by 
the eye of love, the mother runs after it by taking into her 
hands every play- thing that it wants, and gives it every golden 
toy that it demands, similarly, I undertake to fulfil the spiritual 

ambitions of My devotee My devotee loves Me, and I 

care only for his one-pointed devotion. Difficult indeed is 

real love between Devotee and God I have made over 

everything to My spouse Lakshmi ; but T have withheld from 
her the knowledge of the Self, which I make over to My 
devotee" (X. J29 -139). 

101. Jiianesvara tells us how God accepts any object 
howsoever insignificant that is made over 

God accepts from to Him in love by His devotee. "With 
his Devotee any offer- a love incomparable, when My devotee 
ing, howsoever humble, oilers to Me a fruit of any tree what- 
soever, or even brings it before Me, I 
catch hold of it with both My hands, and partake of it 
without even plucking it from its stem. When My devotee 
offers to Me a flower by devotion, I should, as a matter 
of fact, smell it ; but I forget smelling, and begin to eat it. 
What of flowers ! If one offers the leaf of a tree - it matters 
fiot whether it is a wet leaf - it may even be a dry leaf -I 


look upon it as covered by the love of My devotee, and as if 
full of hunger I regard ib as sweet as nectar and begin to 
enjoy it. When even not a leaf is available, water at least 
is not difficult to find. That can be had at any place 
without any price, and when My devotee offers it to Me, T 
regard the ofler as greater than that of a palace richer than 
Vaikuntha, or like that of ornaments richer than the Kaustu- 

bha jewel Thou thyself hast seen, O Arjuna, that 1 

loosened the knots of Sudaman's cloth in order to partake of 
the parched rice therein. I care only for devotion. There is 
nothing either great or small to Me. I care only for the spirit 
in which it is o Herod. A leaf, a flower, or a fruit is only a cause 
for worshipping Me : but T am really worshipped by one- 
pointed love" (IX. 382 -396). 

102. In return for the Saint's offer of love to God, "God 

regards him as the very crest- jewel on 

The Devotee, the His head He has taken the highest 

object of God's adora- goal of life in his hands, and is traversing 
tion. the world for giving it over to people in 

the way of divine love He is the 

object of My adoration. 1 regard him as My head-ornament. 
I have even prized his kick on i\!y breast. 1 have made his 
virtues the ornaments of My speech. I have filled My ears 
with his fame. I, who am eyeless, take on eyes only in order 
to see him. I worship him by the sport-lotus in My hand. 
I have taken on two plus two hands in order to embrace his 

body He is the object of My concentration. He is My 

very deity whom 1 worship All My heart is concentrated 

on him. He is the whole of My treasure. I derive content- 
ment only in his company" (XII. 214-237). 

103. God evon endows His devotee with the highest good, 

namely, th?. spiritual good. u VVhen I see 
God leads the De- that he is being tossed on the waves of 
votee onwards in the life an d death, and when 1 see that he 
Spiritual Path. is being frightened in the waters of the 

ocean of existence, T gather together 
My various forms, and run to his help. I go with a ship to 
relievo him out of the ocean, the Names of God constitu- 
ting the various Boats attached to it. r l hose, whom 1 find 
single, 1 enable to catch hold of the hem of My garment. r l hose, 
who are with a family, 1 put on a raft. I attach the chest of 
love to the body of the rest, and bring all of them to the shore 
of God-union. Even beasts have thus claimed My attention, 
and have been lifted to the Kingdom of Heaven. 1 herefore, 
Arjuna, there is no cause for any anxiety whatsoever to 


My devotees. I come forward to relieve them out of misery. 
As soon as My devotees have given their hearts to Me, I have 
taken on Myself the obligation of relieving them. Hence, O 
King of Devotees, thy only business should be to follow this 
path of God" (XII. 87 - 96). 

104. At the time of death, especially, the devotee is the 

recipient of particular grace from God. 

The Devotee, the "IE thou, Arjuna, doubtest how My 

recipient of particular devotee may remember Me at the time 

Grace from God at the of death, when his senses have been 

time of Death. confused, when his life has been plunged 

in misery, and when all the signs of death 
have made their presence felt both internally and exter- 
nally, if thou doubtesb how he should sit for meditation, 
how he should control his senses, how he should have a 
heart at all to meditate on God by means of Om, remem- 
ber that if My devotee has served Me constantly during his 
life, I become his servant at the time of his death. He has 
stopped all activities for My sake. He has pent Me up in his 

heart, and is ever enjoying My presence He has become 

Myself, and is yet worshipping Me. When such a man is 
approaching the time of death, if he remembers Me, and if 1 
do not come to succour him. of what use is his life-long medi- 
tation ? If a poor man calls upon Me in poverty of spirit, 
shall T not go to relieve him out of his misery ? And if My 
devotee is reduced to the same state as this man, what is the 
use of his life-long devotion ? Therefore, doubt not, Arjuna. 
At the very moment that the devotee remembers Me, 1 am 
before him. I cannot bear the burden of his love towards 
Me. I am his debtor, and he is My creditor ; and for discharg- 
ing My debt, I serve him personally at the time of his death. 
For fear that bodily suffering may kill his consciousness, I 
protect him under the wings of Self-illumination. 1 spread 
about him the cool shade of My remembrance, and 1 bring him 
towards Me, because his heart has been forever set on Me" 
(VITT. 120-133). 

105. And under the consciousness of such protection from 

God, the devotee should merge his Soul 

How one should die * n Him. With a heart concentrated, he 

in God. should meditate on the immaculate God. 

"He should sit in the Padma postiire with 

his face towards the north, and being filled internally with 

the joy of meditation, he should make it his one aim to merge 

himself in the Form of God He should prop his heart 

by inward courage. He should fill his Soul by devotion. Ho 


should make himself ready for departing by the power of 
Yoga, and as the sound of a bell vanishes in the bell, similarly, 
he should make his Prana vanish through his eye-brows ; and 
as one does not know how or when a lamp, under a pitcher, 
comes to be extinguished, even so, he should give up the 
ghost. Such a man is really God himself. He is the highest 
person, and is My very abode" (VIII. 91 99). "And as 
ghee which is churned out of milk, cannot become milk any 
more, similarly, when he reaches Me, there is no return for 

him This internal secret I am unfolding to thee, 

Arjuna!" (VIII. 202 203). 

106. In a number of passages of the Jnanesvari, we find 

that Jnanesvara describes the Union of 

The Union of Saint Saint and (Hod as the culmination of mysti- 

and God. cal life. Occasionally, he speaks of there 

being some little difference yet between 
the two. Elsewhere, he identifies the two altogether. In the 
seventh Chapter of the Jnanesvari, he tells us that even though 
Saint and God may come together, the Saint remains a Saint 
and God God. "Even though the devotee may reach union 
with God, yet he remains a devotee. Even though wind may 
vanish into space, still when it moves, we see that it is different 
from space. Otherwise, it would become one with space. 
Similarly, the saint remains a saint so long as ho has to dis- 
charge his bodily actions. But by the light of his internal 
consciousness, he has become one with Me. By the illumina- 
tion of that knowledge, he knows that he is the Self. There- 
fore, I also say with great rejoicement that I am he. He, who 
lives by knowing the mark which is beyond his bodily existence, 
is not different from it, even though the body may be differ- 
ent" (VII. 114 118). "As the calf of a cow has its heart 
entirely set on its mother and leaps to it as soon as it sees 
her, and even as the cow ret urns the love, in the same mariner, 
with the same intensity with which the devotee loves God, 
does God return the love of the saint. Having once known 
Me, the mystic has forgotten to see behind, as the river which 
reaches the ocean ceases to return. He, whose river of devo- 
tion, springing from the recesses of his heart, has reached Me, 
is my very Soul. He is the real Knower" (VII. 121126). 

107. Elsewhere Jnanesvara speaks of the absolute identity 

of Saint and God even before the Saint 
Liberation before departs from this life. " The Saint has 
Death. refused to identify himself with the body, 

and therefore, he feels no pangs of sepa- 
ration from it when he wants to throw it away ; nor does it 

Ill] TliK JNANfcSVARl 135 

follow that he reaches Me only after he has thrown off his 
mortal coil ; for he has been already during his life merged in 
My Being. He has known his Self as mere moonlight, existing 
not in itself, but in the moon of Universal Spirit. By having 
been one with Me in life, after death he also becomes Myself " 
(VIII. 136139). " Those who, during life, have worshipped 
the gods, after death become gods. Those who worship the 
fathers, merge into the being of the fathers. Those who 
with motives of sorcery run after minor deities, when death 
lets down the curtain, merge into these elementals. Those, 
on the other hand, who see Me with their eyes and hear Me 
with their ears and think of Me with their minds, who by every 
limb make salutation to Me, whose merit and charity arc done 
only for My sake, who have Me as their constant object of 
study, who are filled with My presence in and out, who regard 
their life as useful only for the attainment of God, who pride 
themselves upon being the servants of God, whose passion 
is only the love of God, whose only desire and love are the 
desire and love of God, who are infatuated by Me, whose 
sciences make Me the object of their study, whose chants 
are the chants of God, who in this way make Me the object 
of all their activities, these, even before death, have already 
come into My Being. How after death, shall they ever pass 
out of Me ?" (IX. 355-365.) In this way, we see the absolute 
identity of the Saint and God even during the life- time of the 

108. The practical way for the attainment of this unitive 
existence in God is described by Jiianes- 

Thc Practical Way vara in the eighteenth Chapter. " Fill thy 1 
for the attainment of whole inside arid outside by My activity. 
Unitive Life. Regard Me as all-encompassing. As wind 

mixes with space, similarly, in all thy 
actions mix with Me. Make Me the sole resort of thy mind. 
Fill thy ears with My praise. Let thy eye fall in love, as on a 
woman, on the Saints who are My incarnations. Let thy speech 
live on My names. Let all the actions of thy hand or foot be 
done solely with reference to Me. Whatever obligations thou 

conferest upon another, regard them as offerings to Me 

The dislike of beings shall thus depart. I shall be the sole 
object of thy salutation. Thou shalt come to an eternal life 
in Me. In the filled world, there shall then be no third except' 
thee and Me. Thou and Myself shall live in absolute union. 
In a state inexpressible, thou shalt enjoy Me, and I shall 
enjoy thee. Thy happiness shall thus grow. When a third 
existence, which obstructs our union, has thus departed, 


thou art already one with Me Who shall prevent the 

wind from filling the sky ? Or the wave from reaching the 
ocean ? The difference between thyself and Me, is only on 
account of thy bodily tenement, and when it is destroyed, 
thou art Myself already" (XVlll. 1353- 1367). 

109. How does Jnanesvara describe the external life of 

such a unitive mystic ? " He of whose 
Description of a mind 1 am the sole occupant, shall, even 
Unitive Devotee. during sleep, be known for his passionless- 
ness. He has bathed in the river of Self- 
knowledge. He is filled with contentment after the enjoy- 
ment of the full mystical experience. His life is as a sprout 
to tranquillity He is, as it were, a pillar of cour- 
age. Like a pitcher, he is filled inside and outside with joy 

His very sport is moral His mind serves as a 

satchel for Me His love of Me is ever on the increase 

Duality between him and Me has departed. He has 

become one with Me, and yet serves Me as an Other" (IX. 
186 196). "By the union of knowledge and devotion, he 

is merged in Me, and has become one with Me As when 

a mirror is placed against a mirror, which mirror may be said 

to reflect which? lie enjoys Me even though he has 

become one with Me, as a young woman enjoys youth 

In Advaita, there is still Bhakti. This is a matter of experi- 
ence, and not of words. Whatever, by the influence of pre- 
vious actions, he speaks or does, it is really I, who do these 

things for him As at the time of the Great End, water 

ceases to flow, being hemmed in on all sides by water, simi- 
larly, he is filled everywhere by the Atman By becoming 

one with Me, he ceases to move. That constitutes his pil- 
grimage to My uniqueness Whatever he speaks is My 

praise. Whatever he sees is My vision. I move when he 
moves. Whatever he does is My worship. Whatever he 
contemplates is the chant of My prayer. His sleep is ecstasy 
in Me. As a bracelet is one with gold, so by the power of his 
devotion he is one with Me. As water is one with waves, or 
camphor with fragrance, or a jewel with lustre, even so is he 
one with Me" (XV1I1. 1130-1183). 

110. Jnanesvara tells us of the great post-ecstatic awaken- 

ing of such a mystic. "When ignorance 

The ecstatic and has ceased, and sacrificer and sacrifice 

post-ecstatic states. have become one ; when the last act 

of the sacrifice, namely, the Avabhiitha 

ceremony, has been performed in the experience of the Self ; 

he wakes up like a man from his sleep, and says that while he 

til] THE jNANESVARt 131 

was experiencing a dream, he it was who had manifested him- 
self in all the various forms of the dream ; that the army which 
he saw, was not an army, but only a manifestation of his own 
Self " (TX. 244247). " And when he sits for meditation, he 
hears the sound of the kettle-drum of victory, and the unique 
banner of Identity unfurls over him ; and Ecstasy along with 
her Lord, the Realisation of the Self, is crowned on the throne 
of Unitive Experience" (TX. 217 218). 

111. The most famous passage, however, in which Jnanes- 

vara gives us a description of unitive 

A tale of unison love, is towards the end of the eighteenth 

brings on unison. Chapter, where Sanjaya is speaking to 

Dhritarashtra about the unison of Krishna 

and Arjuna, and is so overcome with feelings that he himself 

becomes one with them. Sanjaya was like a little salt-doll 

at the confluence of the loves of Krishna and Arjuna, and 

became so merged in the waters of the confluence as to be 

entirely indistinguishable from the love of either. " There is 

only a difference of names, J)hiitarashtra, said Sanjaya, 

between the eastern ocean and the western ocean ; but really 

speaking, the waters in both are identical. Similarly, there 

was a difference between Krishna and Partha only so far as 

their bodies were concerned ; but there was no difference 

left in their spiritual confluence. Krishna and Arjuna were 

like two clean mirrors, placed one against the other, the one 

reflecting itself infinitely in the other. Arjuna saw himself 

along with God in God, and God saw Himself along with 

Arjuna in Arjuna, and Sanjaya saw both of them together ! 

Had there been no difference between Krishna and 

Arjuna, no question and answer would have been possible 
for them ; if there was a difference, there would have been no 
atonement. Sanjaya heard their dialogue, as well as saw their 
atonement. Krishna and Arjuna were however identical. 
When one mirror is placed against another, the difference 
between the original and the image vanishes. When one 
mirror is placed before another, which reflects which ? Sup- 
posing a Sun arose before the Sun, who is the illuminator, and 
who is the illumined ? The determination of duality in such 
an experience would be a failure ; and when two waters have 
mixed together, if a piece of salt goes to distinguish between 
them, in a moment's time it becomes mingled with both. So, 
as Krishna and Arjuna reached the unitive life, I myself, said 
Sanjaya, was atoned with them." " While he was speaking 
thus, he was overcome by extreme emotion, and his conscious- 
ness seemed to have departed from him on account of his 


Bhavas. His body was covered with horripilation of hair. He 
fell motionless, and was full of perspiration, and in a moment's 
time a shiver passed through his system, which conquered both 
those manifestations. Tears trickled down his eyes by the 
blissful touch of unitive life. The tears were not really tears ; 
through them oozed out his spiritual experience. He could 
contain nothing in himself. His throat was choked, and words 
failed to come out of his mouth" (XVIII. 1589- 1606). 


112. In his epilogue to the Jnanesvari, Jnanesvara brings in 
two passages, in one of which he tells us 
The Epilogue of the that victory is always with him who is be- 
Jnanesvari. friended by God ; that God's nature being 

victory itself, victory in any case must 
accrue to the side where God is present. Phritarashtra, the 
father of the Kauravas, who was anxious to know the result 
of the fight that was taking place between the Kauravas and 
the Panda vas, asked San jay a on what side victory would 
ultimately lie, and Sanjaya had no hesitation in telling him 
that victory must lie with the side where Lord Krishna was. 
"Where there is the moon, there is the moon-light. Where 
there is the god Sankara, there is his spouse Ambika. Where 
there are the saints, there is discrimination. Where the king 
is, there is the army. Where there is goodness, there is friend- 
ship. Where there is fire, there is the burning power. Where 
there is compassion, there is religion ; where there is religion, 
there is happiness ; where there is happiness, there is God. 
In spring-time, there are groves ; in groves, there are flowers ; 
in flowers, there are clusters of bees. Where the Guru is, 
there is knowledge ; in knowledge, there is the vision of the 
Self ; in vision, there is beatification. Where there is fortune, 
there is enjoyment. Where there is happiness, there is energy. 

Where there is the Sun, there is light Where Lord 

Krishna is, there is Lakshmi ; and where both of them are, 
there are all the maidens of Lakshmi, namely, the Powers. 
Krishna is victory himself, and with the party with which 
He has sided, victory must ultimately lie. In a place, where 
Krishna and His devotee are, the very trees will beat down the 
wish- trees of heaven ; the stones are as jewels ; the earth is 
of gold ; through the rivers of that place flows nectar. The 
prattling of him, whose parents Krishna and Kamala are, 

is equal to the Veda. His very body is divine ; and 

as the cloud, which is born of the ocean, is more useful to the 
world than his parent, similarly, Arjuna was more useful to 


the world than even Krishna. The touch-stone makes gold 
of iron, but the world prizes the gold more than the touch- 
stone. Spiritual teachership is not here called in question. 

Fire shows itself in the shape of a lamp That a son 

should conquer his father is the peculiar wish of the latter. 
Where Arjuna is, there is victory also, because he is the favour- 
ite of God If thou belie vest in the words of Vyasa, then 

believe in what I say. Where the Lord of Lakshmi is, there 
is the company of the Saints ; there is happiness, and infinite 
auspiciousness. If this turns out false, then I shall cease to 
call myself the disciple of Vyasa. With these thundering 
words, Sanjaya raised his arm" (XVIII. 16331659). The 
second famous passage in the epilogue of the Jiianesvari is the 
one where JnaneSvara asks grace from God. "Let the Lord 
of the Universe be pleased with this literary sacrifice of mine, 
and being pleased, let Him give me this grace : May the 
wicked leave their crookedness and have increasing love for 
good ! Let universal friendship reign among all beings. Let 
the darkness of evil disappear. Let the sun of True Religion 
rise in the world. Let all beings obtain what they desire. May 
the company of the devotees of God, who shower down bles- 
sings incessantly, meet the beings on earth ! They are verily 
moving gardens of wish- trees ; they are living mines of wish- 
jewels ; they are speaking oceans of nectar. They are moons 
without any detracting mark ; they are suns without any 
tormenting heat. May all beings be endowed with all happi- 
ness, and have incessant devotion to the Primeval Being. 
Let all those, who live upon this work, have victory in the 
seen, as well as the unseen! God said to this, 'Amen! this 
shall come to pass,' and Jnanesvara became happy by hearing 
those words" (XVIII. 1794-1802). 

The Amritanubhava. 

1 . Jnanadeva expounds his philosophical teaching in this work 
with such a mastery and wealth of poetic 
Jnanadeva's esteem imagery, that it remains to this day one of 
of his work. *h e greatest philosophical works in Marathi 

literature. Though Jiiamideva more than 
once speaks of this work as Anubhavamrita (Amt. X. 19, 20,. 
24, 25, 31), we have yet called it Amritanubhava, as this title is 
more familiar to all. The encomiums which he himself passes 
on it make it evident what great importance he wanted to at- 
tach to this work. He tells us that it is rich in spiritual experi- 
ence, and that by it people would gain final emancipation in this 
very life (Amt. X. 19). It is so sweet that even Ambrosia 
would desire to partake of it (Amt. X. 20). Jnanadeva tells 
us that he has served to all this dish of spiritual experience 
in order that the whole world may enjoy a general feast (Anit. 
X. 24, 31). He declares that the work would be found equally 
useful for all classes of spiritual aspirants those who are 
bound, those who desire for final freedom, as also those who 
have attained to spiritual perfection (Amt. X. 25). For, in the 
first place, he thinks that, from the ultimate point of view, 
there is only a difference of degree and not of kind between 
these classes of aspirants, as there is a potentiality of spiritual 
perfection even in those who are bound, and in those who 
desire for liberation. Thus he asks Can we from the view 
point of the Sun say that the Full Moon is different from the 
Moon of other days ? The bloom of youth that expresses 
itself in a young woman was dormant in her girlhood. Again, 
with the advent of spring, the trees begin to kiss the sky with 
their twigs, and they bear flowers and fruits (Amt. X. 21 
23) ; but this is only an actualization of what was poten- 
tially present in the trees. Secondly, Jnanadeva declares 
that all distinction of ability or level between the three classes 
of spiritual aspirants vanishes as soon as they taste the nectar 
of spiritual experience presented in this work. He describes 
the unifying influence of his work in a number of beautiful 
similes : he tells us that the streams that go to meet the Ganges 
become themselves the Ganges ; the darkness that meets the 
Sun becomes itself the light of the Sun ; we can talk of differ- 
ence between gold and other metals only so long as the Parisa 
has not touched the other metals ; for then it makes them all 
pure gold (Amt. X. 2627). 


2. The principal aim of the work, as Jfianesvara expresses 

it, is the extension and diffusion of the 
The Principal Aim Knowledge of God, which he had himself 
of the Work. gained through the unlimited magnani- 

mity of his spiritual teacher, to ail the 
people in the world. He tells us that he took to writing this 
work, simply because he was blessed by his Guru with spiritual 
bliss not tor his own individual enjoyment, but with the ex- 
press desire that the whole world may be enabled to partake 
of it ; as God endowed the Sun with liglit not for his own sake, 
but because he may illumine the whole world. It was not for 
the Moon's own sake that nectar was given to the Moon ; nor 
does the Sea grant the clouds water for their own use. The 

light of a Lamp is meant for all Thus also does Spring 

enable the trees to bear fruit, and oblige all people (Amt. X. 
1-6). Here we find that Jnanadeva is preaching a kind of 
spiritual altruism, which strongly reminds us of the Parable 
of the Cave in the Republic, where Plato insists that a true 
philosopher, who has seen the Spiritual Light outside the 
Cave, must come inside and tell the shadow-ridden Cave- 
indwell or s that what they are busying themselves with are 
appearances and not reality. Jnanadeva however tells us 
with great humility that he has disclosed no new principle, 
since it is impossible to express in words the Self-luminous, 
which would have shone even if the work had not been written, 
and even if he had remained silent (Amt. X. 8 9). Every- 
thing is luminous, and there is no secret to be revealed, since 
the whole universe is completely filled with the one eternal 
perfect Atman, who is neither hidden nor manifest (Amt. X. 
14 -15). Nothing exists, therefore, beyond the one intelligent 
principle which has been existing from eternity (Amt. X. 16). 
it is inexpressible, and even the Upanishads can describe it only 
in negative terms (Amt. X. 18). Jnanadeva, therefore, says 
that his work is, in fact, an expression of the deepest silence ; 
it is like the picture of a crocodile drawn on the surface of water 
(Anib. X. 17). 1 his utterance may be taken on the one hand 
as connoting the impossibility of describing in words the nature 
of the Ultimate Principle, and on the other, as an expression of 
the extreme humility that is so characteristic of Jnanadeva. 

3. We shall, in the first place, consider the metaphysical 

speculations of Jnanadeva, as expressed 
The Argument of the in this work. We shall see how under the 
Work. influence of the Samkhya system he dis- 

cusses the nature of the Prakriti and the 
Purusha ; how they are related to each other as husband and 


wife ; how the world is created by them ; how they are inter- 
dependent ; how they disappear with the realisation of the 
real nature of either of them ; and how they are united in 
Brahman which is their substratum. We shall next turn to 
the description of the nature of the Atman as given by Jnana- 
deva under the influence of Vedanta Philosophy. We shall 
show how the Atman transcends all expression, and in parti- 
cular how the Word, useful in reminding us of the real nature 
of our Self, which we have forgotten through our ignorance, 
proves, in fact, useless with reference to the Atman which is 
self-existent, and which is all-knowledge ; while it is also 
useless in removing ignorance, as ignorance by its very nature 
has no existence. Next we shall consider the nature of know- 
ledge and ignorance, point out with what keenness Jnanadeva 
meets the arguments of those who assert the real existence of 
ignorance in the Atman, show how he proves definitely that the 
Atman is beyond both knowledge and ignorance, and how both 
of these, being false, only limit the real nature of the Self. 
Next, we shall see how there exists in this universe nothing but 
one living intelligent principle, namely, the Brahman or Atman, 
and how the world and all phenomenal existence are but vibra- 
tions, or manifestations, or the sports of this One without a 
second. It is the substratum of all existence whatsoever, 
and by it is everything illuminated. It is this self-luminous 
self-existent Atman that presents itself as the world with the 
triads of the seer, the sight, and the seen, the knower, the know- 
ledge, and the known, and so on, and yet is in fact beyond all 
these, and absolutely unaffected by them. We shall next pass 
to the mystical speculations of the Amritanubhava, and con- 
sider how Jnanadeva shows that this Atman can be intuitively 
apprehended, and realised through the grace of a Spiritual 
Teacher. The significance of the Spiritual Teacher and his real 
nature form a subject of perennial .interest to Jnanadeva, as it 
does to all other Saints, and we find many pages of the work 
devoted to this important topic. Finally, we shall briefly notice 
the nature of supreme devotion to God, as also the condition of 
one who has attained to final emancipation in this very life. 

4. When we come to the discussion of the nature of the 
Prakriti and the Purusha which are also 

Influence of Sam- designated as Siva and Sakti, or God and 
khya and Vedanta on Goddess, by Jnanadeva, we have to note 
the thought of Jnana- that the relation between them is likened 
deva. to that subsisting between husband and 

wife, thus clearly showing the influence 
of Saivism on the one hand, an4 that of the dualistic trend 


of thought of the Samkhya on the other. The Prakrit! is also 
declared to be nothing but the desire of the Purusha to enjoy 
himself. It is also contended that both the ideas of the Pra- 
ki;iti and the Purusha are interdependent, and the fact that 
they are but different forms of one living intelligent Brahman 
argues for their essential unity. r l his synthesis of the duality 
is clearly the effect of the influence of the Vedanta on the 
thought of Jnanadeva. These preliminary remarks will help 
us to understand the account of the Prakriti and the 
Purusha which Jnanadeva gives in the second chapter of 
his Amritanubhava. 

5. Jnanadeva regards Prakriti arid Purusha, or Sakti and 
Siva, as the parents of an infinite number 

The Prakriti and of worlds, who mutually exhibit their es- 
tke Purusha. sential unity ; ,and he declares that 

it is very difficult to know what part 
of either of them is united to the other to make one whole 
(Amt. 1, Sanskrit Verses 4, 3). They are unlimited (Amt. I. 
1). r lhey are related to one another as husband and wife, 
the Purnsha himself becoming his beloved, the Prakriti, when 
impelled by a desire to enjoy himself (Amt. I. 2) ; and so 
strong is their desire to enjoy themselves that they become 
one through it, and never allow their unity to be disturbed 
by anything (Amt. I. 5). So intense and deep is the love 
between them that they seem as if to swallow up each other, 
and thus exhibit the world as the sport of their love (Amt. 
I. 3). What Jnanadeva wants to say is that with the ex- 
pansion of the Prakriti, the Purusha remains concealed and 
unknown, while with the extension of the Purusha, the Pra- 
kriti disappears. Thus he tells us that these are the only two 
inmates of the home of the Universe, and when the Lord 
(the Purusha) goes to sleep, the Mistress (the Prakriti) re- 
mains awake, and herself plays the part of both ; and that 
if either of them happens to wake up, the whole house is swal- 
lowed up, and nothing is left behind (Amt. I. 13, 14). The 
Prakriti, again, who gives birth to all things living and non- 
living in the world, herself disappears absolutely when the 
Purusha wakes up (Amt. I. 37). Ihey mutually serve as 
mirrors to reflect their own nature (Amt. I. 38), and become 
objects of enjoyment to one another (Amt. I. 16) ; and yet 
both of them vanish as soon as they embrace each other (Amt. 
I. 47) ; that is, with the real knowledge of their nature, they 
cease to be ultimate realities, and become only the manifest- 
ations of the one Brahman that underlies them both. Jnana- 
deva considers Prakjiti and Purusha to be interdependent, 


and complementary to each other. Thus, he says that it is 
only through the God that the other is a Goddess, and it is 
through her that he is the Lord. The chaste arid well-devoted 
Prakriti cannot live without him, while apart from his beloved, 
the Purusha cannot be called Siva, nor can he be called the 
all-doer and the all-enjoyer (Amt. I. 10, 21, 28, 39) ; thus, 
these two being relative cannot exist independently of each 
other. Through their profound love, they live happily not 
only in the smallest particle, but find the great world too small 
for them to live in. They treat each other as their very life, 
and even the most insignificant thing in the world cannot be 
created without their mutual help (Amt. I. 11-12). On the 
one hand, the Prakriti, blushing at her formless husband, 
adorns him with the ornaments of names and forms as great 
as the world itself ; and by her miraculous power presents 
the rich manifold world in Brahman which cannot tolerate 
even the idea of unity. The Purusha, on the other hand, 
enhances the growth of his beloved Prakyiti by contracting 
himself, as she manifests only the existence of the Purusha 
in all her manifestations ; and he, who assumes the form of a 
seer through his love for her, suddenly throws himself away 
in grief when he fails to see his beloved ; it is on account of 
her importunities that he assumes the form of the world, 
while he is left naked without her, being deprived of the cover- 
ing of the names and forms created by her (Amt. I. 3034). 
Jnanadeva is here giving expression to a very favourite idea 
of his, that with the expression of the Prakriti, the Purusha 
becomes concealed ; while with the knowledge of the real 
nature of the Purusha, the Prakriti vanishes. This reminds 
us of the Empedoklean idea of Love and Strife, each alter- 
nately entering the Sphere and driving away its opposite. 
What Jnanadeva wants to express here is that as soon as we 
come to know the real nature of either the Prakriti or the 
Purusha, their dependence on Brahman and their essential 
unity with it become evident, and we come to regard them 
as only relative conceptions that point to the one Absolute 
which underlies them both. 

6. This leads us to consider the unity of the Prakriti and 

the Purusha in Brahman. We are told 

The essential unity of by Jnanadeva that both the Prakriti 

Prakriti and Purusha f and the Purusha live in Brahman and are 

in Brahman. illuminated by its light, and that from 

eternity both of them have been living 
there as one (Amt. 1. 8). Both of them melt their forms into 
the unity of Brahman, though the world that we see by 


our ignorance is created by the half part of each of them (Amt. 
I. 15). Jnanadeva further tells us that the duality or differ- 
ence of male and female is only in name, while in reality the 
One supreme Brahman in the form of Siva alone exists. The 
Prakriti and the Purusha together create but one world, as one 
sound is produced by striking two sticks against each other, 
or one ViTia prepared by means of two bamboo rods ; two 
lips utter but one word, and two eyes give but one vision. 
The Prakriti and the Purusha whose parts are as if intermin- 
gled, seem to be two, but are in fact eternally enjoying the 
unity of the one blissful Atman (Amt. I. 17- 20, 40), and are 
therefore really one. They cannot be distinguished from one 
another, as sweetness cannot be distinguished from sugar ; 
again, the sun shines on account of his lustre, but the essence 
of lustre is nothing but the sun (Amt. 23 25). Siva and 
Sakti, the Purusha and the Prakriti, are declared to be es- 
sentially one, as are air and its motion, or gold and its lustre, 
or musk and its fragrance, or fire and its beat (Amt. I. 41 42). 
If day and night- were to go together to the abode of the Sun 
to meet him, the day would vanish along with the night ; 
similarly do the relative conceptions of the Prakriti and the 
Purusha vanish in the unity of Brahman (Amt. T. 43). Though 
the Purusha and the Prakriti seem to be male and female (from 
the grammatical point of view), yet there is really no difference 
between them, just as there is no difference in the waters of 
the Sea (male) and the Ganges (female) when they meet to- 
gether (Amt. f. 54). Jnanadeva, therefore, bows to Bhutesa 
and Bhavani, the Purusha and the Prakriti, in a spirit of unity 
with them as the ornaments of gold would bow to gold of 
which they are made (Amt. 1. 60, 52). Finally, he declares 
that having renounced egoism, he has now become one with 
Sambhu and Sambhavi, as a piece of salt becomes one with 
the sea when it leaves aside its solidity and smallness (Amt. 
I. 63). 

7. After having shown in the previous section how the 

Prakriti and the Purusha, being relative 

Description of Brah- conceptions, point to an ultimate prin- 

man or Atman. ciple, call it Brahman or Atman, which 

underlies them both, we may now 
proceed to consider the nature of this ultimate principle. 
If, as we are told, the Atman exists independently of every- 
thing else, and sees without being seen by anybody, and is 
ever manifest, how can we talk of him as non-existent, or as 
lost ? The Atman silently endures the charge of the nihilists 
who regard him as nothing, for they contradict their own 


theory in practice, as the assumption of their own existence 
necessarily presupposes the existence of the Atman. Can the 
Atman be proved as non-existent the Atman, who witnesses 
the sleep which in its dense darkness of ignorance engulfs the 
gross and the subtle worlds alike, and who is the all-knower, 
and who cannot be encompassed by what is visible ? The 
.Vedas speak about everything, but they have not even men- 
tioned the name of the Atman, who is beyond all being and 
non-being. The Sun that illumines all things cannot show us 
the Atman ; the sky that envelopes all things cannot compre- 
hend the Atman. Egoism which eagerly embraces as its own 
every kind of body which is but a conglomeration of bones, 
leaves aside the Atman, who is beyond all egoism. The under- 
standing, that grasps all things knowable, falters before this 
Atman. The mind, that imagines many things, remains 
far removed from the Atman. The senses, that are ever 
directed to the useless objects of sensual pleasures, like wild 
cattle feeding on the grass of barren land, absolutely fail to 
taste the bliss of the Atman. Is it possible to apprehend in 
all its totality the Atman or Brahman that swallows up the 
world, along with ignorance that created it ? It is impossible 
for any one to see the Brahman, which, being pure knowledge 
itself, cannot be an object of knowledge even to itself, just as 
the tongue that tastes all other things cannot taste itself. 
How could the Atman be limited by anything else, when it 
is not limited even by any desire to see itself ? Thus all our 
efforts to determine the nature of the Atman prove as futile as 
those of a person who tries to outrun his own shadow. Those, 
therefore, who describe the Atman in words or by means of 
various similes, remain only far removed from him, as they 
cannot give a real description of the Atman. The Atman 
is not only beyond all words, but also beyond the reach of 
intellectual apprehension. It is through the Atman that the 
individual self is purged away of its ignorance, and can ex- 
perience the ecstatic, beatific condition. Though the Atman 
is the seer, he is not relative to anything seen ; for how 
could there be any act of seeing when there is not in 
the Atman even the idea of unity, as unity is only relative 
to duality (Amt. VII. 104-122)? Thus the ultimate 
principle, namely the Atman, is declared to be the all- 
knower and all-seer ; beyond being and not-being ; beyond 
the reach of egoism ; beyond the senses, mind, and under j 
standing ; baffling all description by means of words ; 
and transcending all perceptual and conceptual know- 
ledge. * 


8. As regards the nature of Brahman, Jnanesvara first denies 
the existence in it of the three attributes, 

Brahman is beyond existence, knowledge and bliss, in the sense 
the three attributes that they, like the attributes of Spinoza, 
Existence, Knowledge are incapable of exhaustively determining 
and Bliss. the nature of Brahman, though they all 

enter into its nature and are together expressive of Brah- 
man. As lustre, hardness, and yellowness together consti- 
tute gold ; or as viscosity, sweetness, and mellifluity together 
constitute nectar ; or as whiteness, fragrance, and softness 
are only camphor ; and just as the three qualities in each 
case mean but one thing, and do not point to the exis- 
tence of a triad ; similarly the three attributes of Existence, 
Knowledge, and Bliss involve no triad, but express one Brah- 
man. And as the three qualities of camphor do not exhaust 
its nature and may therefore be said not to exist in it at all, 
similarly, the three attributes of Brahman may be declared 
to be non-existent in Brahman, as they fail to grasp Brahman 
in its totality (Amt. V. 1, 7). They are only human ways 
of looking at Brahman, which is absolute and remains un- 
affected by these ; as we human beings talk of increase or 
decrease of the Kalas of the Moon from our own point of view, 
while the Moon is as it is in itself, perfect at all times, 
and unaffected by our way of looking at it. Similarly Brah- 
man is as it is, and is not affected by our way of deter- 
mining its nature by means of the three attributes, or their 
opposites which are implied in them (Amt. V. 8 12). These 
expressions, however, point to the Absolute before they vanish 
in it, like the clouds that shower rain, or like the streams 
that flow into the sea, or like the paths that reach the 
goal. As a flower fades after giving rise to a fruit, or as a 
fruit is lost after giving its juice, or as juice vanishes after 
giving satisfaction ; or, again, as the hand of a sacrificer re- 
turns after offering oblations ; or as a sweet tune is lost in the 
void after awakening pleasurable sensations in the hearers ; 
or as a mirror disappears after reflecting the face ; similarly, 
the three terms become lost in silence after manifesting the 
pure nature of Atman as the Seer (Amt. V. 20 -25). Brah- 
man is beyond all speech, and it is as impossible and futile 
to speak about it, as to measure one's length by measuring 
one's shadow by one's own hands (Amt. V. 2627). 
Brahman is beyond all relative conceptions, such as existence, 
intelligence, and happiness ; as also beyond the opposites 
of these that are implied in th6m. It is neither existence,! 
por non-existence, for it is absolute existence ; it is neither] 


intelligence nor non-intelligence, as it is absolute intelligence ; 
and it is neither happiness nor misery, since it is absolute 
bliss. It transcends all duality of opposite and relative con- 
ceptions, and is absolutely one, though not numerically one 
(Amt. V. 20-34). 

9. The Sun alone, who is never thrown into the back- 
ground by any other lustrous body, and who can never 

be covered by darkness, can bear com- 
The existence of Brah- parison with Brahman, which is neither 
man proved against the darkened by ignorance nor brightened 
Nihilists. by knowledge. Moreover, it is not con- 

scious of its own condition (Amt. IV. 
17 18) ; for if we were to suppose that Brahman knows 
itself, this would imply that it was ignorant of its own self 
for some time, as knowledge is always relative to ignorance ; 
this, however, is absurd (Amt. IV. 23). Ihe mode of exis- 
tence of Brahman is so unique that both existence and non- 
existence prove false in its case (Amt. IV. 25). But we can- 
not say that Brahman does not exist at all ; for none has such 
an experience. Further, Jnanadeva asks, on whose existence 
can it be proved that Brahman is nothing, and does not exist ? 
Some one's existence is absolutely necessary to prove the 
existence or non-existence of anything. Brahman's existence 
is unique, and it exists without existing in any particular 
way, and without being non-existent (Amt. IV. 26- 31). The 
reason why Brahman is supposed to be non-existent is that it 
is an object of knowledge neither to itself nor to any one else. 
Its existence, however, is pure and absolute, and is therefore 
beyond both existence and non-existence. It exists in its 
own way, as a man fast asleep in an uninhabited forest exists 
without being an object to himself or to anybody else (Amt. 
IV. 32- 34). Brahman exists in itself without being consci- 
ous of any existence or non-existence (Amt. IV. 37), as 
the water of a subterranean spring that is not yet tapped, 
exists in itself perfectly without being an object of experi- 
ence to anybody (Amt. IV. 39). Thus does the Absolute 
exist in itself, and is beyond all relative existence and non- 

10. Jiianadeva speaks of Brahman in the same manner in 

which Kant speaks of the thing-in-itself, , 

Brahman is and declares that it remains unknown to 

indescribable. all sciences ; that it suffers no comparison, 

and is like itself, as the sun is like the 

sun, the moon like the moon, or the lamp like itself (Amt. V. 39 ; 

VII. 288). It alone can know the mode of its existence, as does 


an unplanted sugar-plant know the sweetness of its juice ; 
or the sound of an unstruck Vina its own sound ; or as the 
filament and fragrance themselves act as bees to appreciate 
the fragrance of a flower that has not yet come into being ; 
or again, as food that is not yet cooked can know its own 
flavour ; or as the moon of the 30th day of the month at midday 
know itself. It is like the beauty that has not yet assumed 
any form, or like the holiness of a virtuoiis act before it is 
performed. The Brahman can be described only if desire, 
that is dependent on mind, were to grow uncontrollable even 
before the mind was created. It is like the sound that exists 
before any musical instrument is constructed ; or again it is 
like fire which having burnt the firewood has returned 
to itself and lives in itself The Brahman, in fact, trans- 
cends all generality and particularity, and lives, ever enjoying 
itself. Silence is greatest speech in its case. For all modes 
of proof proclaim that Brahman cannot be proved, and all 
illustrations or parables solemnly declare that Brahman can- 
not be shown. All conceptions and all scientific characteris- 
ations vanish before it ; efforts prove fruitless, and even 
experience grows hopeless of verification. Thought along 
with its determinative quality disappears, and thus proclaims 
the glory of Brahman like a great warrior, who by his death 
gains success for his master. Understanding becomes ashamed 
of its inability to know Brahman How can words de- 
scribe Brahman, where experience itself vanishes, along with 
the subject that experiences and the object that is experienced, 
where the supreme speech itself disappears, and no trace is 
found of any sound (Amt. V. 39 63) ? Jnanadeva declares 
that it is as unnecessary to describe Brahman in words, as to 
wake up one that is awake, or cook food for one who has taken 
his meals, or to light up a lamp when the sun has risen (Amt. 
V. 65, 66). 

11. Jnanadeva now proceeds to discuss the efficacy and 
the inefficacy of the word, its efficacy as 
Efficacy of the a reminder of Brahman and its ineffi- 
Word. cacy to reveal the absolute nature of 

Brahman, as well as to destroy Igno- 
rance which does not exist. First, he begins by praising the 
importance of the Word, and tells us that we regain a thing 
that is lost in forgetfulness when we are reminded of it by 
Word. The Word is therefore glorious and famous as a re- 
minder (Amt. V. 67, 68). Jnanadeva extols the great utility 
of the Word, and asks if it does not serve as a mirror, which 
by reflecting the individual Self, makes him vividly realise 


his own Self, and thus reminds him of his real formless nature 
which he has forgotten through ignorance. But this wonder- 
ful mirror is different from other ordinary mirrors, inasmuch as 
it enables not only the seeing, but even the blind to see their 
reflections in it. The Word is declared to be, like the lustrous 
sun, the glory of the family of the Unmanifest. Through it 
does the sky come to be what it is, and possess the quality 
that it does. Though the Word is invisible like a ' sky-flower', 
it gives rise to the fruit of the world. It is a torch-bearer 
that lights the path of action, and tells us what ought to be 
done, and what ought not be done. It is a judge that 
decides between bondage and freedom. When it pleads for 
Avidya, it makes the world, which is the result of ignorance, 
appear as if it was real. It works as a magician, and it is on 
account of its spell that Siva comes to be limited, and thinks 
himself as an embodied Self ; while it is also through the Word 
that the individual Self comes to realise his own real nature. 
The Word cannot be compared to the Sun, because the latter 
shines only by destroying the night which is its opposite, 
while the former supports both the opposite paths of action 
and actionlessness at the same time. Jnanadeva says that it 
is impossible to describe adequately the innumerable excellent 
qualities that the Word possesses, since it sacrifices its own 
life for the knowledge of the Atman. 

12. Jnanadeva, however, shows that the Word, though 

famous as a reminder, is yet absolutely 

The inefficacy of the useless in the case of the Atman, first 

Word to reveal the because the self-conceived Atman, that is 

absolute nature of the all-knowledge, stands in no need of any 

Atman. obligation of being reminded by means 

of Word (Amt. VI. 12, 13) ; and secondly, 
because it is foolish to suppose that the Word can show 
Atman to himself by destroying Ignorance, which by its very 
nature has no existence whatsoever (Amt. VI. 20). The Word 
is futile both ways, since it can neither destroy ignorance 
that is non-existent, nor reveal the Atman that is all-know- 
ledge and self-existent ; it is therefore useless like a lamp 
lit up at midday which can neither destroy darkness which 
does not exist at that time, nor light the Sun that is self-re- 
fulgent. Thus being fruitless both ways, the Word vanishes 
like a stream that is lost in the waters of the deluge (Amt. 
VI. 96- 98). Now the Word is useless in the case of the Atman, 
because there is neither memory nor forgetfulness in him, and 
nothing else exists besides the Atman. How could the Ab- 
solute remember or forget itself ? Can the tongue taste itself ? 


The Atman or the Absolute is pure knowledge, and beyond the 
relative conceptions of memory and forge bfulness (Amt. VI. 
14 Iff). It is simply a contradiction to suppose that the 
Word can gain greatness by enabling the all-knowing Atman 
to experience himself. For this is as impossible as that one 
should marry oneself, or that the Sun should light itself or 
eclipse itself, or that the sky should enter into itself, or the sea 
flow into itself ; or again that fruit should bear fruit, or that 
fragrance should scent itself, or that fire should burn itself. 
Again, it is as impossible that the all-knowing Atman should 
be enabled to know himself, as that sandal should smear itself, 
or that colour should be coloured, or that a pearl should adorn 
itself by a pearl ; or again, as the eye should see itself, or as 
a mirror reflect itself, or a knife cut itself. The Atman that 
is self-evident and self-existent stands in no need of proof by 
Word. It is therefore groundless to believe that the Word 
can gain greatness by enabling the Atman to enjoy himself 
(Amt. VI. 75- 95). 

13. Then, again, the Word is equally useless with refer- 
ence to Ignorance which it is supposed to 

Inability of the Word destroy. Since Ignorance by its very 
to destroy Ignorance nature is non-existent, like the son of a 
which does not exist. ' barren woman, there is no object left 
for logic to destroy. Ignorance is as 
unreal as a rainbow ; and if the rainbow were real as it seems 
to be, what archer would apply a string to it, and discharge 
arrows ? It is as impossible for Word to destroy ignorance as 
for the sage Agastya to drink up a mirage. Again, if Avidya 
were such a thing as to be destroyed by Word, then why 
should not fire easily burn the imaginary city in the sky ? It 
is as futile to try to destroy Ignorance by Word as by means 
of a lamp to see the Sun ; for Ignorance is unsubstantial 
like a shadow, and disappears like a dream in wakefulness. 
Ignorance is false like the ornaments created by the spell of a 
magician, which can neither enrich a poor man when he pos- 
sesses . them, nor impoverish him when he is deprived 
of them. Eating of imaginary sweet cakes leaves a man 
without food. The soil on which a mirage appears is not 
moistened. If, therefore, Ignorance were .real as it seems, men 
would have been drenched by the rain painted in a picture ; 
fields would have been moistened, and tanks filled by it. What 
necessity would there be to prepare ink if one were able to write 
by mixing up darkness ? Ignorance is as illusory as the blue- 
ness of the sky ; and as the very word Avidya itself declares, 
it does not exist If Ignorance were something positive, 


thought would have determined its nature. But it is by its 
very nature non-existent, as has been shown in various ways ; 
nothing is left therefore for the Word to destroy. It is as 
vain to try to destroy Ignorance by logic, as to slap the 
void, or embrace the sky, or kiss one's reflection. One 
who yet entertains a desire to destroy this Avidya may 
leisurely take off the skin of the sky, or milk the nipple of 

a he-goat, or by crushing a yawn take out juice 

from it, and mixing it with indolence, pour it into the 
throat of a headless body. He may turn the direction of 
the flow of a stream, or prepare a rope from wind. He 
may beat a bugbear, bind in a garment his own reflection, 
or comb the hairs on his palm. He may pluck the sky- 
flowers, and break with ease the horns of a hare. He may gather 
soot from a lustrous jewel, and marry with ease the child 
of a barren woman ; he may nourish the Chakora birds of 
the nether world with the nectar-like rays of the new moon, 
and may catch with ease the aquatic animals in a mirage 
(Amt. VI. 24- 54) ! Jnanadeva repeatedly declares that 
Avidya does not exist at all, that its non-existence is self- 
evident, and that it is simplv meaningless to say that the 
Word destroys it (Amt. VI. 43, 55, 68). In fact, the Word 
would destroy itself, if it tries to explain the meaning of Ig- 
norance (Amt. VI. 71). Jnanadeva concludes, therefore, that 
the Word, which is the very life of Knowledge and Ignorance, 
vanishes along with them in the Atman, as the world vanishes 
in the deluge, or the cloudy day vanishes when the clouds 
pass away (Amt. VI. 102, 103). 

14. Jnanadeva next turns to the consideration of the 

relation of Avidya and Vidya, and tells 

Nature and Relation of us that with the destruction of Avidya 
Avidya and Vidya. are destroyed the four kinds of speech 

which are so intimately connected with 

it, as hands and feet disappear along with the death of the 
body ; or as the subtle senses depart along with the mind ; 
or as the rays disappear along with the Sun ; or again as the 
dream vanishes before the sleep comes to ari end. Jnana- 
deva holds that from the ashes of the Avidya, that is de- 
stroyed, arises, as from those of a Phoenix, the Vidya, and the 
four kinds of speech are again revived as philosophical sciences, 
and they continue to live, as the iron that is burnt lives as 
Rasayana, or as the burnt fuel lives as fire, or as the salt that 
is dissolved in water lives as taste, or as sleep that is destroyed 
lives as wakefulness (Amt. III. 2 7). As Vibhuti lives in the 
form of white lustre even when its particles are brushed away, 

tv] friE AMkltANtfBttAVA 


or as camphor lives in the form of fragrance even when it is 
dissolved in water, or as the waters of a stream, that has run 
off, live in the form of moisture in the soil, similarly does the 
Avidya that is destroyed continue to live in the form of Vidya 
(Amt. III. 27- 29, 31). Avidya, therefore, whether living or 
dead, limits the Atman either with bondage or liberation ; 
for when living it binds the individual Self with false know- 
ledge about himself, and even when dead it remains as the know- 
ledge of the real nature of the Atman, which is also equally 
a limitation to the Atman ; thus it acts like sleep which by 
its presence creates dreams, and which while departing points 
to the existence of wakefulness (Amt. III. 11, 9-10). 
Thus, Avidya is declared to be the cause of both bondage 
and freedom, as is sleep the cause of dreams and wakefulness. 
Jnanadeva maintains that both the conceptions of Bondage 
and Freedom, as results of Ignorance and Knowledge, are 
relative and false ; since Freedom itself is a sort of Bondage 
in the case of the Atman who is beyond them both (Amt. 
III. 12). Even the knowledge 'I am the Atman' is itself a 
limitation to the Atman, because it is relative to Ignorance ; 
while the Atman is beyond both knowledge and ignorance, 
and is of the nature of pure and absolute knowledge. Keal 
emancipation is attainable, only when this relative knowledge 
of the Atman also vanishes (Amt. III. 23, 24). It is, there- 
fore, as foolish to suppose that the Atman, who is absolute 
knowledge, stands in need of any sort of knowledge in order 
to know himself, as to think that the Sun requires another Sun 
for the spread of his light ; and it is as ridiculous to say 
that the Atman is delighted by his knowledge, as to say that 
a man who has lost himself wanders over various countries 
to find himself, and that he is delighted when after a num- 
ber of days he comes to know that he is himself (Amt. III. 
19- 22). The final result of all this discussion is that both 
Knowledge and Ignorance are proved to be obstructions in 
the way of the realisation of the Atman, and we are told 
that both of them should therefore be sublated. 

15. Now Knowledge, that destroys Ignorance and its 
effects, is itself destroyed, as the fire 

Knowledge that is in its efforts to burn camphor burns 
relative to Ignorance itself, or as the silkworm in confining it- 
is itself destroyed in self in the cocoon and shutting up the 
Brahman. outlet by means of earth kills itself, or 

as a thief, who enters into a sack and 
fastens himself in it, gets bound by himself (Amt. IV. 2, 5, 4). 
Knowledge that thus destroys Ignorance increases till it 



entirely destroys itself (Amt. IV. 10) ; but before its final dis- 
appearance it grows in size for a moment like the light 
of a lamp whose oil arid wick are exhausted. Thus its in- 
crease is only indicative of its final destruction. Know- 
ledge lives only for a moment to be finally destroyed like the 
Jasmine buds that bloom into flowers only to fade away just 
the next moment ; or like the ripples that rise only to be 
instantly merged in water ; or like the lightning that flashes 
and disappears at the same moment (Amt. IV. 10, G 9). 
Knowledge, that shines by destroying Ignorance, is itself 
swallowed up by Absolute Knowledge (Amt. IV. 14), which 
leaves no distinction between Knowledge and Ignorance, as 
the Sun that fills the whole universe leaves no room for any 
distinction between light and darkness (Amt. IV. 1112). 
Jnanadeva declares that Knowledge and Ignorance are like 
twins that resemble each other, and that Knowledge is there- 
fore itself a kind of Ignorance (Amt. VII. 6). But for know- 
ledge, the very name of Ignorance would never have been 
heard (Amt. VII. 1) ; for Ignorance is as illusory as the horses 
in a picture, which cannot be used for war (Amt. VII. 4). It is 
great only in itself, as a dream and darkness are great in them- 
selves (Amt. VII. 3). It is as vain to search for it in real 
Knowledge, as to seek for the waves of a mirage in Moonlight 
(Amt. VII. 5). 

16. The nature of Ignorance and Knowledge is further 
expounded by Jnanadeva in his subtle 

Jnanadeva's argu- and forensic attack against the Ajna- 
ments against the navadins, who argue for the existence 
Ajnanavadins. of Ignorance in the Atman. Jnanadeva 

asks, if Ignorance really lives in real 
Knowledge, which is the Atman, why does it not make the 
Atman ignorant, since it is the nature of Ignorance to be- 
fool a thing in which it exists (Amt. VII. 8, 9) ? Jnana- 
deva subtly argues that if Ignorance exists, it must by its 
very nature cover everything ; and since it cannot know itself, 
there will be nothing to recognise and prove its existence ; 
on the other hand, if it does not make ignorant the thing in 
which it exists, it will be no Ignorance at all. Thus, he says 
that when Ignorance by its existence has rendered the one 
knowing Absolute ignorant, nothing will exist but Ignorance ; 
and asks ' who would then know that Ignorance exists ? ' Ig- 
norance cannot know itself, as a proof cannot prove itself ; 
one has therefore to keep silent in this case (Amt. VII. 14, 
11- 13). Ignorance therefore vanishes since it does not know 
itself (Amt. VII. 17). On the other hand, it is as meaningless 


to designate as Ignorance what does not make ignorant the 
Atman in which it exists, as to call a cataract that which 
does not impair the eyesight, or to name as fire that which 
does not burn, or to posit as darkness that which does not 
destroy light, or to designate as sleep what does not disturb 
wakef ulness, or to entitle as night what does not diminish the 
day. It is, therefore, vain to say that Ignorance exists in the 
Atman and yet the Atman remains all-knowing (Amt. VI. 19 
23). Again, thought makes it evident that it is merely an unjust 
distortion of facts to suppose that Ignorance, the cause of 
worldly existence, exists in the Atman (Amt. VII. 24). For, how 
can the two diametrically opposite things like the densely dark 
ignorance and the refulgent knowing Atman exist together ? 
Ignorance and Atman will live together, only if sleep and 
wakefulness, f orgetfulness and memory, can exist together ; 
or if cold and heat can travel together ; or if darkness Can 
envelope the rays of the Sun ; or if night and day can stay to- 
gether at the same place ; or if death and life can be twins 
to one another. It is therefore mere nonsense to say that the 
Atman and its opposite live together (Amt. VII. 24 30). It 
is also wrong to suppose that Ignorance can exist in the Atman 
when the latter exists in its absolute unmodified condition, as 
fire does in wood before two pieces of it are rubbed together 
(Amt. VII. 58, 59). For this cannot be proved ; and this 
also involves a contradiction in including in the Atman its 
opposite. Further, how can the Atman, which cannot suffer 
even to be called by its name, and which is not even con- 
scious of itself, have any resemblance to Ignorance and be 
united with it (Amt. VII. 60, 64) ? It is as futile to try to 
remove ignorance from the Atman as to clean a mirror that is 
not yet made (Amt. VII. 62). In spite of all this, if one per- 
sists in saying that Ignorance exists in the Atman, which is 
beyond all being and non-being, we may admit, says Jnana- 
deva, that it exists, if the non-being of a jar that is broken to a 
thousand pieces can exist, or if the all-killing death itself be 
killed, or if sleep be asleep, or if fainting itself faint away, or 
if darkness fall into a dark well, or if the sky can be turned into 
a whip and sounded, or if poison can be administered to a 
dead man, or if letters that are not written can be erased 
away (Amt. VII. 6670). It is as false to say that Ignorance 
exists as to say that a barren woman gives birth to a child, 
or that burnt seeds grow ; for nothing exists except the Abso- 
lute (Amt. VII. 71, 72). It is as foolish to try to find 
out in pure intelligence the ignorance which is entirely its 


opposite, as to wake up hurriedly in order to catch sleep (Amt. 
VIl. 73 76). Think in whatever way we may, we cannot 
find any existence of Ignorance (Amt. VII. 77). And it is as 
vain to trace its existence as to erect a meeting-hall using 
the hare's horns as pillars, illuminate it with the rays of the 
new moon, adorn the children of a barren woman with sky- 
flowers, or give to them the ghee of a tortoise taking the sky 
as a measure-glass (Amt. VII. 80-83). That 'Ignorance does 
not exist' forms, so $o say, the burden of Jiianadeva's dis- 
cussion, and he concludes that Ignorance can exist neither 
in the Atman nor independently of the Atman, as a living 
fish made of salt can neither exist in water, nor separately 
from it (Amt. VIl. 35 39). Its existence is therefore both 
ways absolutely illusory (Amt. VIl. 40). 

17. Jnanadeva next proceeds to make a logical discussion 
of the nature of ignorance. He con- 

A logical discussion tends that ignorance must be either 
of the nature of Igno- directly apprehended, or logically in- 
ranee. ' ferred. It is not directly apprehended, 

first because all Pramanas like Pratya- 
ksha are the results of ignorance, though not ignorance itself, 
as the sprout and creeper are results of the seed, though not 
seed itself, or as good or bad dreams are the offspring of sleep, 
though not sleep itself. These Pramanas, therefore, as the 
effect of ignorance, cannot certainly apprehend Ignorance 
(Amt. VII. 47), as they are themselves Ignorance on account 
of the identity of cause and effect (Amt. VII. 51). Ignorance 
and its effect are the same as the dream and the witness thereof 
are of the same nature (Amt. VII. 49). Secondly, on the same 
principle the senses, that are also effects of Ignorance, cannot 
perceive it (Amt. VII. 48), as raw sugar cannot taste itself, or 
as collyrium cannot besmear itself (Amt. VII. 50). Thus the 
very fact that Ignorance cannot stand the test of any Pramana 
proves that it is false, and that there is no difference between 
it and the sky-flower (Amt. VII. 55, 54, 53). For how can 
ignorance be called real, when it is neither a cause of anything, 
nor does it produce any effect ? It is therefore evident that 
ignorance is incapable of direct apprehension since it is neither 
cause nor effect of anything, which alone are directly perceived 
(Amt. 56 57). As to the second alternative, that Ignorance 
can be logically inferred, the Ajfianavadins contend that the 
very fact that there is this vast world shows that Ignorance 
exists as its cause, and though it is not directly seen, it may be 
safely inferred from this, its effect ; as from the fact that the 
trees are fresh and green, it may be inferred with certainty 


that their roots are taking water, though the ground round 
about the trees may be apparently quite dry ; or as the exis- 
tence of sleep can be inferred from the dreams, though the 
man who enjoys the sleep is not conscious of it at that time 
(Amt. VII. 91-94). Ignorance, therefore, though not directly 
visible is certainly inferrible (Amt. VII. 90). Jiianadeva 
replies to this contention that the world which the Ajnana- 
vadins declare to be the result, of Ignorance is in fact an exten- 
sion of the all-knowing and self-luminous Atman, who presents 
himself as the visible world, and who himself assumes the 
function of a seer (Amt. VII. 87). We shall discuss in detail 
the views of Jnanadeva about the nature of the world in one 
of the sections that follow. It is sufficient to note here that 
he declares that to regard the world, which is really a form 
of the Atman who is absolute knowledge, as but a flood of 
ignorance, is as foolish as to call the light of the Sun darkness 
(Amt. VII. 100, 95). Are we to call a thing collyrium, which 
makes all other things brighter and whiter than the moon ? 
The world, which is in fact supreme Light, may be regarded 
as a result of Ignorance, only if water can perform the function 

of fire Can ambrosia ever produce poison ? (Amt. VII. 

86 99.) Similarly, the world, which, as the sport of the 
Atman, proceeds from the Atman, who is all knowledge, cannot 
be anything but knowledge. If one were to call such a world 
Ignorance, Jnanadeva says that he knows not of what nature 
Knowledge would be ; for whatever exists is the Atman (Amt. 
VII. 101). It is therefore unjust to (tall the Atman (who 
exists also as the world) Ignorance. But, says Jnanadeva, 
if the Ajnanavadins persist in calling what illumines the world 
Ignorance, he could regard it only as a mode of expressing 
truth in a contradictory manner, as what enables a man to see 
an underground store of wealth may be called collyrium, or as 
an idol made of gold may be called Kalika. In reality, all 
existence is illumined by the refulgent One, and it is on account 
of him that knowledge knows, and sight sees, and the world 
exists as his form. It is simply foolish to point out to this 
world as ignorance (Amt. 2G9- 274). If one were to place 
fire inside a box made of lac, the box will be immediately 
reduced to fire (Amt. VII. 276), and there will be inside and 
outside the box nothing but fire ; similarly, there is one Atman 
shining inside and outside the world. The world is thus a 
vibration of the Atman, and if the Ajnanavadins call it Ig- 
norance, we may regard them as having gone mad (Amt. VII. 
277). Jnanadeva regrets that nobody recognises the fact that 
the very term c Ignorance' and the statement * Ignorance exists' 


become intelligible only through Knowledge (Amt. VII. 279, 
18). He declares, therefore, that Ignorance which is not 
anything and which does not know itself, is proved to be 
non-existent by all Pramanas ; and since it has no effect, it 
cannot be said to exist ; while its non-existence is self-evi- 
dent (Amt. VII. 102, 103). Finally, Jnanadeva criticises 
the argument adduced in favour of the existence of Ignorance, 
that from the fact that Ignorance is the cause of the know- 
ledge of the world, it may be inferred that Ignorance 
exists. Jnanadeva points out that this would make knowledge 
a quality of ignorance, which is as absurd as to suppose that 
pearls are produced from soot, or a lamp lighted by ashes. 
Pure illumination would be produced by dark ignorance, only 
if flames were to be proceeded from the moon, or stones from 
the subtle sky, or deadly poison from nectar. It is wrong to 
suppose that knowledge proceeds from ignorance ; for with 
the appearance of knowledge ignorance is destroyed, and pure 
knowledge alone ultimately remains (Amt. VII. 282-287). 
There is, therefore, no difference between the world that is 
illumined, and the Atman that illumines it : they are one. 
Jnanadeva thus forces his opponent, the Ajnanavadin, to con- 
fess his mistake, and regard the whole world as but an illumi- 
nation of the Absolute (Amt. VII. 289). 

18. We may now turn to the consideration of Jfianadeva's 

theory about the world, since it forms 
The Sphurtivada. his original contribution to philosophic 

thought. He regards the world as not 

in any way different from the Absolute, but as a manifest- 
ation of Him, a sport of the one supreme intelligent Atman. 
Nothing exists but Brahman, which alone shines forth as the 
world. We are told that when there arises a desire in the 
supreme Atman to see himself, he himself becomes the mani- 
fold world, an object to himself, and thus comes to see himself 
as the visible world (Amt. 129, 131, 156). Thus the Atman, 
who is beyond all triads, and of the nature of pure light, ex- 
pands himself as the world. The supreme Intelligence alone 
underlies all the objects of the world, that are ever changing 
and assuming different forms ; it is so rich that it wears every 
moment new apparels in the form of the objects of the world. 
And as the Atman regards the objects once created as stale and 
worn out, he presents to his vision ever fresh and new objects. 
Jnanadeva remarks that it is the Absolute that itself appears 
as the knowing Subjects, that vary with the variation of the 
Objects that are known (Amt. 123-128). But though Brah- 
man itself becomes the visible world, and being itself its seer ? 


enjoys it, its unity is not in the least disturbed by it, as the 
unity of the original face is not disturbed though it is reflected 
in a mirror, or as the standing posture of an excellent horse 
which sleeps while standing is not disturbed even when it 
wakes up. Just as water plays with itself by assuming the 
form of waves, the Absolute is playing with itself by becoming 
the world. Is any difference created in fire, when it wears 
the garlands of flames ? There is no duality between the Sun 
and his rays, when he is surrounded by the rays. The unity 
of the moon is not disturbed, even when enveloped by the 
moon-light. The lotus remains one, even when it blooms 

into a thousand petals Even when there are spread on 

a loom a number of threads, there is to be found in them nothing 
but thread. Similarly, there is 110 difference in the Absolute, 
when it presents itself either as the seer of the world, or as the 
world that it sees ; for it is the Absolute alone that becomes 
both. Thus, the unity of the Atmari is not lost even when 

he comes to fill the whole universe If the eye had been 

able to see the world without opening its lids, or if the seed of 
a Bunyan tree had been able to produce the full-grown tree 
without breaking itself, then it could have been illustrated how 
the unity of Brahman expands itself into the manifold world 
(Amt. VII. 132- 149). On the other hand, when the.Atman 
ceases to desire to see himself, and thus present himself as 
the world, he can do so easily, for then he would remain what 
he is by nature (Amt. VII. 173). He would then rest in himself, 
as sight remains absorbed in itself when the eyes are closed, 
or as a tortoise draws within itself its feet, or as on the new- 
moon day all the sixteen Kalas rest in the moon (Amt. VII. 
150 153). It is the Absolute, which, by its mere winking, 
presents itself as the particular world, and which, after de- 
stroying this world, returns to its absolute condition (Amt. 
V1T. 183). As all that exists is but the Absolute, how can 
there be any subject to see, or any object to be seen (Amt. 
VII. 155) ? Yet as the visible world that is seen, and the seer 
who sees, eternally follow from the Absolute, they are eternal 
and are not newly created, just as the sky and the void, air 
and touch, light and brightness, that ever live together are riot 
newly united to each other. The Absolute that shines as the 
universe sees the universe, but it also sees the non-existence 
of the universe when the latter vanishes ; for it ever conti- 
nues in its own seeing condition in spite of the existence or 
non-existence of the universe. It is ever seeing itself in what- 
ever condition it may be, for there is no difference between the 
Absolute and the World, as there is none in the whiteness 


of the moon and that of camphor. There is no reason to sup- 
pose that the Absolute and the World are two different en- 
tities, and that the one sees the other ; for it is the Absolute 
alone that sees itself in the form of the World. The intelli- 
gent Absolute ever sees itself, and stands in need of no other 
entity to see itself, just as a jewel does not require any other 
thing to cover it with brilliant lustre. It is as impossible that 
the Absolute should see itself through some other entity, as 
that the sandal should be surrounded by some other scent, 
or that camphor should be made white by something else 

As a lamp is wholly filled with light, so is the universe 

entirely filled with the supreme Intelligence, which is for ever 
throbbing. And the seeing and the non-seeing of the Brah- 
man are like darkness and light in the case of the moon, which, 
being really unaffected by these, ever lives in its own original 
unmodified condition (Amt. VJI. 157-172). The seer and 
the seen, being relative to each other, destroy each other, as 
camphor that is put into fire vanishes along with fire ; and 
the Absolute that is beyond them both remains as the reality 
of both, as a zero alone remains when one is subtracted from 
one, or as water alone remains, destroying all distinction 
between the eastern and the western seas, when these latter 
mix together (Amt. VII. 175- 181). The natural condition 
of the Absolute lies between the destruction of the seer and 
the seen and a new revival of them, as water remains in its 
natural state when the wave that has arisen vanishes and a 
new one has not yet arisen, or as we are really ourselves when 
our sleep ends and we are not yet fully awake ; it is like the 
state of the sky when the day ends and the night has not yet 
set in (Amt. VII. 185 - 189). Since the Absolute alone exists 
in all things, how could there be any seeing and not-seeing, 
which imply duality ? The seeing and not seeing that are 
relative and dependent on the Absolute thus destroy each 
other (Amt. VII. 200). The Atman is not proved to be false 
even when he is not manifested by Maya, but remains what 
he is, as the face remains as it is, whether it is reflected in a 
mirror or not (Amt. VII. 215, 219). On the other hand, Maya 
owes its reality to the Atman, as a lamp that is lighted by a 
person proves the existence of the person (Amt. VII, 231 
233). Nothing else therefore exists except the Atman, whether 
he appears as the world, or its seer, as there is nothing 
else but the waters of the Ganges, whether it is in itself or 
flows into the sea, or as the ghee remains what it is, whether 

it is in a solid or liquid condition Keenest thought, 

therefore, makes it evident that both the seer and the seen 



are false; for if nothing exists except the one Atman, that 
is pulsating everywhere, how can there be any subject that 
may see, or any object that may be seen ? It is as useless to 
say that it sees itself, as to pour waves into water, or to 
mix light with light, or to serve satisfaction to satisfaction, 
or to crown the fire with flames (Amt. VII. 234249). The 
Atman is thus declared to be inexpressible in words, and 
forms no object either for knowledge or for experience (Amt. 
VII. 252). The richness of the Atman is incomparable, since 
it becomes the world without losing its unity ; it could have 
been compared to the Sun, if his rays had not gone out of him- 
self (Amt. VII. 257- 264). The sport of the Atman is un- 
paralleled, and all that we can say about it is that it is like 
itself. There is neither any waste nor any diminution in the 
light of the Atman in presenting himself as the World, which 
the Atman enjoys with great rapidity (Amt. VII. 267), thus 
partaking of incomparable sovereignty within himself (Amt. 
VII. 268). 

19. We now pass on to discuss the significance of the Spiri- 
tual Teacher as described in the Amyi- 
Significance of the tamibhava. Jfianadeva's love for his Guru 
Spiritual Teacher in is profound, and absolutely unbounded, 
the mystic life. an d though he praises him with all 

the wealth of his poetic genius, heaping 
similes over similes and metaphors over metaphors, he yet 
declares that he is absolutely incapable of adequately de- 
scribing the greatness of his Guru. He devotes the whole of 
the second chapter of the Amyitanubhava to a description of 
his Spiritual Teacher, Nivritti. He dwells on the significance 
of the name Nivritti, and tells us that the glory of the name 
Nivritti lies in its implying absolute actionlessness, without 
the slightest touch of action (Amt. IT. 79). We are further 
told that he is called Nivritti though there is no Pravritti in the 
Atman, which he is supposed to destroy, as the Sun is called 
the enemy of darkness, even though there is no darkness which 
presents itself as his opponent (Amt. II. 33, 34). He regards 
Nivrittinatha as verily a god who is indestructible, indescrib- 
able, unborn, absolute, and of the nature of pure bliss (Amt. 
Saiisk. 1 2). Jnanadeva bows to his Guru Nivritti. who, 
he says, by killing the elephant in the form of Maya, offers 
him a dish of the pearls taken from its temples (Amt. II. 2). 
The spiritual teacher is as it were a spring to the garden of an 
aspirant's endeavours for self-realisation, and though formless, 
as it were, the form of mercy incarnate (Amt. II. 1). He makes 
no distinction of great and small in distributing the wealth 


of final emancipation. As for his power, he surpasses even the 
greatness of Siva. Tie is as it were a mirror in which the in- 
dividual Self sees the bliss of Atman. It is through his grace 
that the scattered Kahxs of the Moon of spiritual knowledge 
are brought together. All the efforts of the spiritual aspirant 
to realise the Atman cease when he once meets a spiritual 
teacher who renders him actionless, as the (ianges becomes 

motionless and steady when it meets the sea r lhe grace 

of the (iuru is declared to be verily the 8un, with whose rise 
vanishes the darkness of ignorance, and the blessed day of 
self-realisation dawns. Bathed in the waters of his Guru's 
grace, the individual Self becomes so pure that he comes to 
regard even Siva as impure, and would not allow the latter 
to touch him (Amt. IT. 5- 11, 14). The spiritual aspirant 
gains the ripe fruit of self-realisation only when he implicitly 
acts according to the orders of his spiritual teacher (Amt. II. 
17). It is out of the light of the (iuru that the moon arid the 
stars are created, and it is through his light alone that the Sun 
shines (Amt. II. 23). He is a priest whom even Siva, dis- 
tressed by the limitations of his body, asks for that auspicious 
day when he may regain his pristine condition of bliss (Amt. 
II. 24). The spiritual teacher is beyond all inference, and 
beyond all modes of proof ; he is indescribable in words, which 
become silent in his oneness which tolerates no duality (Amt. 
II. 27- 28). How can he, who is beyond the reach of all form 
and sight (Amt. IT. 50), be an object for our praise or salu- 
tation ? r l hns, when we go to fall at the feet of the Ouru, he does 
not present himself as an object worthy of salutation ; as the 
Sun is not the cause of his own rise (Amt. II. 44). Not only 
does he not become an object of salutation, but he even leaves 
no trace of the person who goes to salute him (Amt. II. 47) ; 
for the latter is also made to realise that he is like the former 
really the Atman. Jfmnadeva tells us that when he wenfc 
to salute his Master, he found that the object of salutation 
vanished along with the saluter, as camphor and fire both 
vanish when they are brought near one another, or as a hus- 
band, who in a dream goes to see his wife, is destroyed along 
witli the w T ife as soon as he awakes (Amt. IT. 2, f>3). r lhe 
spiritual teacher is therefore beyond the triad of saluter, salu- 
tation, and salutee ; arid Jfianadeva in his hopelessness to 
describe him calls him the greatest mystery possible (Amt. 
IT. 37). One cannot love him without being lost to his bodily 
self, and there remains no difference between master and piipil 
(Amt. II. 39). The words 'master and disciple/ therefore, mean 
but one thing, and the master alone lives in both (Amt. II. 61). 


20. Jnanadeva next proceeds to describe the unitive ex- 

perience of one who has realised Brah- 

Description of One nian. We are told that the enjoyer and 

who has realized the the object of enjoyment, the seer and the 

Self. object of sight, become merged in the 

mystic realisation of Brahman, which is 
one unbroken whole ; it is as if fragrance were to become a 
nose and smell itself, or a sound to become an ear and hear 
itself, or a mirror to become an eye and see itself (Amt. IX. 1). 
The knower of Brahman retains his unity in the midst of 
diversity as a SavantI flower remains one even though it blooms 
into a thousand petals (Amt. IX. 8). The unity of Brahman 
is running through all apparent manifold objects of sense, and 
when the senses go to catch hold of their objects, they are lost 
along with their objects in the one Brahman which alone 
remains (Amt. TX. 15 10) ; for it is this Brahman which 
itself becomes both the senses and their objects. As the 
hand that tries to catch the waves finds nothing but water ; 
or as camphor presents itself as touch to the hand, as a white 
object to the eye, and as a fragrant thing to the tongue ; simi- 
larly to the wise, one Brahman alone vibrates as the sensible 
manifold (Amt. IX. 12- 14). To him all apparent differences 
vanish, as the parts that we see in a sugarcane are lost in its 
juice ; no trace of multiplicity is to be found in him, even 
though his senses may enjoy their objects (Amt. IX. 17, 18). 
Thus his supreme silence is undisturbed, even though he may 
speak of all objects that he comes across ; and he remains 
actionless, even when he performs many actions (Amt. IX. 
20 21). He remains unique like the Sun who goes to em- 
brace darkness with his thousand rays (Amt. TX. 23). 

21. The attitude to reality of such a person may be 

characterised as Advaita-Bhakti, or 

Nature of Supreme Vnitive Devotion. The eight- fold Yoga is 

Devotion. as lustreless before it as the Moon is by 

day. Here the consciousness of the body- 
absolutely disappears, and all actions are performed with the 
internal conviction that everything is the Atrnan. r J he unity 
of the Atman underlies the apparent multiplicity, implied in 
the actions of such a knower of Brahman ; and the greater the 
number of the actions performed, the greater does the unity grow. 
In the case of such a person, the enjoyment of the objects 
of sense is itself superior to beatitude, for in the home of Su- 
preme Devotion the worshipper and the object of worship are 
so mixed together as to become absolutely one. In this case, 
therefore, action and actionlessness become equal, as there 


is nothing to be achieved by action, nor is there anything to 
be lost by non-action. This state of Supreme Devotion, that 
the knower of the Atman enjoys, is simply unique, as it is 
beyond both memory and forgetfulness. His sweet will forms 
the moral code, and his free actions the highest ecstasy. Here, 
God Himself becomes the devotee ; the goal itself becomes the 
way ; and the whole universe itself becomes solitude. Now 
God can be the devotee, and the devotee God. And if a desire 
arises in God to enjoy the relation of master and servant, he 
himself becomes both, and thus exhibits this relation. In 
Supreme Devotion, therefore, the devotee has nothing but God 
even for his material of worship. Here it may be said that God 
worships God with God. And Jnanadeva does not think this 
to be impossible : for he tells us that from the same rock are 
carved the idols of God, the temple, and God's attendants, 
which seem to be different, and are yet one (Amt. IX. 26- 43). 
As the devotee is really God Siva, he, as it were, worships 
God even when he does not worship ; and it is as unnecessary 
to ask him to worship, as to ask the flame of a lamp to wear 
the garment of light, or the moon to cover itself with moon- 
light (Amt. IX. 48, 45 4f>). Tn Brahman, therefore, action 
and actionlessness are both destroyed, and devotion and non- 
devotion occupy the same position. The description of Brah- 
man, therefore, which we find in the Upanishads, becomes 
a censure, and censure itself becomes the highest praise ; arid 
in fact, both praise and censure are reduced to silence. It 
is wonderful that in Supreme Devotion walking and sitting 
in one place both become the same thing. The sport of the 
knower of Brahman in his imitive life is really incomparable, 
but may be likened if at all to that of a ball, which falls down, 
rebounds again, and thus plays with itself (Amt. IX. 51). 
22. Finally, we may briefly notice the personal mystical 

experience of Jnanadeva which he declares 

Personal Experience to have attained through the grace of his 

of Jnanadeva. Guru, Nivritti. He tells us that he is 

made really his own self by his Guru, 
who has placed him beyond the reach of both knowledge and 
ignorance ; that through his grace he became so great that he 
could not contain himself within himself ; that he is not 
limited even by Atman-hood ; that he cannot be limited even 
by self-consciousness, because it is relative to a conscious- 
ness of not-self ; and finally that though he is of the nature 
of final emancipation itself, this creates no duality in him. 
Jnanadeva says that there has yet been created no word tliat 
would describe him, no sight that would see him, There 


is no wonder, therefore, that he remains neither concealed nor 
manifest ; and the real mode of his existence is rarely 
known to any one. Jnanadeva proclaims that he has been 
placed by Nivritti in a condition that cannot be described by 
words (Amt. VIII. 1 - 8). Knowledge and ignorance, that 
are relative to each other, both vanish in that condition ; 
as both husband and wife would perish, if, in their endeavour 
to exchange themselves, they were to cut each other's throat 
(Amt. VIII. 10, 14). Thus swallowing up both the darkness 
of ignorance and the light of knowledge, the intelligent Atman, 
who is verily the Sun of Reality, shines in all his brilliance 
in the Chidakasa (Amt. VIII. 19). Jnanadeva exultantly pro- 
claims that he has been made the sole sovereign of the king- 
dom of supreme bliss by the grace of his Guru ; and though 
he is really one with his Guru, it is becoming the love of the 
latter that he should be addressed as his Master's own (Amt. 
IX. 64- 66). 


The Abhangas of Nivritti, Jnanadeva, Sopana, 
Muktabai, and Changadeva. 

1. We have hitherto seen the contribution which Jiia- 

nesvara has made to the Philosophy of 

The Abhanga and the lieligion by his exposition of the princi- 

Religious Lyric. pies of the BhagavadgltcT, in his Jiia- 

nesvari as well as by his independent 
reflections on philosophico-religious matters in the Amrita- 
nubhava. We have now to pass through the Abhanga 
literature a literature which corresponds closely to the reli- 
gious Lyric in English literature. We see the up-rise of this 
kind of literature in the days of Nivritti, Jiianadeva, and their 
contemporaries. The first greatest writer, however, of note 
in the Abhariga literature is Jnaiiesvara. r l he Abhangas 
are an outpouring of the heart, especially in the matter of 
the relation of the Soul to Cod. Use is made no doubt of 
Abhanga literature in the matter of reflection on, and criti- 
cism of, social customs. But the main purpose of Abhanga 
literature is to express the innermost feelings of the heart. 
Namadeva, who came immediately after Jnanadeva, brought 
it to greater perfection still ; while Tukarama was the pinnacle 
of the writers of Abhangas, inasmuch as personal religion 
reached its acme with Tukarama. After Tukarama, there have 
been reverberations of this kind of literature even among 
later writers ; but the greatness of Tukarama does not 
reappear in them. Our present purpose, however, is to take 
notice of the contribution that was made by Nivritti and others 
to personal religion. We shall discuss first the contribution 
that was made by Nivritti. We shall then pass on to the 
Abhangas of Jnanesvara ; and then we shall proceed to the 
teachings of Sopana, Muktabai, and Changadeva. When we 
have considered the reflections on personal religion by these 
writers, this part of the work will come to a close. 


2. To begin with the Abhangas of Nivrittinatha. Nivritti- 

natha compares Samsara to a tree in 

The teaching of the manner of the Bhagavadgita, and 

Nivrittinatfca. tells us that this Tree of Kxistence could 

not be uprooted without the grace of the 

Guru, that it has neither shade nor foliage, and yet that it 

exercises power everywhere in the world (Abg. 2). By the 


grace of the Guru, says Nivrittinatha, he is able to visualise 
the Atman who lives in all things (Abg. 3). Only him should 
we call our Guru, who is able to show God directly to our sight ; 
him we should hand over all our wealth and mind and body, 
and take from him the Atman for whom we aspire (Abg. 4). 
God shows Himself to a devotee, only if this latter pos- 
sesses good emotions and desires (Abg. 8). One should verily 
shut one's ears, when other people are being censured or dis- 
praised for nothing. One should shut up one's mouth, and in a 
mystical manner meditate on God (Abg. 10). One should 
never hear one's praise. One should entirely merge one's 
consciousness in the being of God (Abg. 11). As a sun might 
rise at night, similarly, this Atman shines forth by the grace 
of the Guru (Abg. 22). Narratives of this God are more 
fragrant than the sandal tree itself. The fragrance of God 
indeed surpasses the fragrance of the sweetest flowers like Jai, 
Jui, and Mogara (Abg. 27). God's sweet sound emerges out 
of the warf and woof of breath (Abg. 29). God is indeed the 
Moon, after whom we pant like a Chakora bird, or of whom 
we are like rays. We live in the body ; God is outside the 
body, Nivrittinatha says that like a Chataka bird, he looks 
up to the heaven for God (Abg. 32). There is no special time 
when God may reveal Himself. We are able to see God always, 
and at all times (Abg. 30). When we have seen God, all this 
world vanishes from us. We are unable to see the moon, and 
the sun, and the stars. We are unable to see the earth and the 
sky. Every nook and cranny of the universe becomes filled 
with God (Abg. 37). The whole world indeed becomes God, 
and there remains no distinction between God and Devotee. 
As an ocean waxes and wancp, so is the distinction between 
Devotee and God (Abg. 43). 


3. Jrianesvara tells us that we should lead a life of utter 

ignorance about all things except God. 

The teaching of The knowledge of God is devotion, 

Jnanadeva. and the knowledge of God is realisation 

(Abg. 2). Being born in this world, we 

lead a life of enmity towards ourselves. To say that the 

body is ours, or the children or the wife or the wealth is 

ours, is not to know that all these are in the hands of Death. 

We bind ourselves to these things like a parrot which sits upon 

an iron bar, falsely fastening itself to it (Abg. 5). As a crane 

falsely meditates, its object of desire being a fish, similarly, 

we falsely take resort to penance in a forest, when we are 


thinking about a woman. There is no use lashing the body 
until we have conquered our mind (Abg. 7). We need not 
bid good-bye to a house-holder's life, nor need we bid good- 
bye to the actions that are consequent thereupon. The real 
secret of God-knowledge lies elsewhere. So long as our 
spiritual teacher has not favoured us with his grace, so long 
our mind shall not become composed (Abg. 11). The spiritual 
teacher is verily the King of all the Saints. Him we may call 
an ocean of happiness, or a mine of love, or a mountain of 
courage, or the source of dispassion. The spiritual 
teacher is an invariable protector of his disciple. Like a wish- 
tree, he yields all desires to a devotee. He punishes the wicked, 
and destroys all sin (Abg. 12). The Name, upon which he asks 
us to meditate, puts an end to all knowledge, as it puts an end 
to ignorance (Abg. 16). When Prahlada uttered the name of 
God, God came to his rescue. God's name is indeed the best 
and holiest of all things. It is God's name which came to the 
succour of Dhruva, of Gajendra, of Ajamila, of Valmiki (Abg. 
18). Mountains of sin shall perish in an instant at the utter- 
ance of the name of God (Abg. 20). There is neither time nor 
season for the utterance of God's name (Abg. 24). The devo- 
tees of God feed upon the nectar of His name. The Yogins 
find it a source of eternal life (Abg. 25). If we meditate in- 
tensely on the Name of God within, God shall take pity upon 
us. Jnariesvara silently counts this rosary of God's name 
within himself (Abg. 27), and is therefore able to see the 
universe wholly filled with God (Abg. 28). The Saints, says 
Jnane&vara, are as untouched by happenings, as the Sun's 
disc is untouched by the sky (Abg. 30). When one meets a 
Saint, one feels as if one is endowed with four hands. After 
meeting the Saints, all the toil of life ceases. What the Saints 
are able to confer is more valuable than a wish-tree, or a touch- 
stone, or a wish-jewel (Abg. 31). As a penniless man should 
get at a treasure, or as a dead man should come to life again, 
or as a calf might meet its mother from which it is separated, 
similarly, one is filled with joy at the meeting of these Saints 
(Abg. 33). When the Saints back up a devotee, nothing shall 
be wanting to him. Does the wife of a King, asks Jnanesvara, 
go on begging alms ? Or, does a man, who sits under a wish- 
tree, ever lack anything (Abg. 35) ? 

4. In these utterances of Jilanadeva, we do not yet find 
his heart panting for God. It is generally 

The Pain of God. supposed that Jnanadeva's mind did not 

suffer any torment in its search after God. 

But there are a few utterances in his Abhangas, from which we 


can see that Jnanadeva's mind was like that of Namadeva 
and Tukarama in later times, panting after the attainment of 
God. Jnanadeva weeps that God being so near to him, he 
should not yet be able to see Him. "As a thirsty man pines 
after water, so do I pine after Thee", says Jnanadeva (Abg. 
37). "I am all the while a-thiiiking as to how I might come 
to possess a woollen garment. My garment has been already 
torn to pieces. I have neither money with me, nor have I 
the capacity to undergo physical trouble. I am suffering 
from cold, as T have no external garment with which I might 
clothe myself. Nobody except* God can give me that 
garment" says Jnanesvara (Abg. 38). Tn another place, like a 
beloved pining after her lover, Jnanesvara tells us, that he 
has been thrown away from God in a distant country. The 
night appears as day, and he pines that God should not yet 
visit him, even though his heart has been set so much on Him 
(Abg. 39). "The cloud is singing and the wind is ringing. 
The Moon and the Champaka tree have lost all their soothing 
effects without God. The sandal paste serves only to 
torment my body. They say that the bed of flowers is very 
cool ; but yet it is burning me like cinders of fire. The Kokila 
is proverbially supposed to sing sweet tunes ; but in my case, 
says Jnanadeva, they are increasing my love-pangs. As 1 
begin to look in a mirror, says Jnanesvara, I am unable to see 
my face. To such a plight, God has reduced me " (Abg. 40). 
Jnanesvara wonders that God should be seen at all places, 
and yet he should be unable to hold converse with God. 
Whatever he hears through his ears, and sees with his eyes, 
is only a divine manifestation. The Personal -and the Imper- 
sonal are merely ari illusion created by God. Sufficient unto 
me is the evil of my existence, says Jnanesvara. My exis- 
tence fills me only with shame. Let Thy will be done, says 
Jnanesvara, for my supplications are all useless (Abg. 41). 
Finally, Jnanesvara tells us that as deep was calling unto deep, 
and the waters of the Jumna were in a tempestuous torment, 
the eyes of the whole world were set upon the form of God, 
and God would deceive the world by showing himself in a 
personal vision, and yet not holding converse with his devotee 
(Abg. 42). 

5. Jnanesvara attributes his entire progress in the mystical 

life to the grace of Nivritti. "I was a 

Mystic Progress by blind man and a lame man, and illu- 

the grace of Nivritti. sion had encircled me. My hands and 

feet were unable to work. Then I saw 
Nivjitti, who initiated me into spiritual knowledge by seating 


me under a tree and dispelling all ignorance. Blessed be the 
spiritual wisdom of Nivritti. Blessed be the Name of C!od. 
The fruit of my actions is at an end ; my doubt is dispel- 
led ; all my desires have been fulfilled. I shall never now 
move sense-ward. I shall sing the praises of the Lord. My 
wishes have ended, because I have been living under the 
Wish-Tree. My anxieties are at an end, because 1 am feeding 
on nectar. My mind is engrossed forever in divine joy. All 
sufferings, along with herds of sin, have now passed away .... 

Atmanic wisdom has been realised; the secret of the 

Vedas has been unfolded ;.*... .the pitcher has been broken ; 
the bonds have been dissolved ; Self-hood has come to an end 

by the spiritual wisdom of the Teacher ; Buddhi and 

Bodha have been united (cf. Jnanesvari, 16th Chapter) 

eyes have been created in eyes ; the body has become heavenly. 
In all directions there is spiritual bliss. Everything now ap- 
pears to me to be Brahman. My teacher Nivritti has dispelled 
my blindness, has endowed me with sight, has put the col- 
lyrium of God in my eyes, and has immersed me in the 
Ganges of knowledge," says Jnanadeva (Abg. 43). 

6. Jnanadeva's mystical experience is very rich and varied. 

We shall begin first by a consideration 
Colour experience. of the various colours that a mystic is 

supposed to see. Jnanadeva tells us that 

"the abode of Godistlie thousand- petal led cavity in the brain, 
where is the source of spiritual bliss. One sees the red, the 
white, the blue and the yellow colours, and sees these with a 
pure vision. I need not tell you much," says Jnanadeva, 
"you already know these things. You understand these 
things, and remain silent" (Abg. 45). Jnanadeva tells us 
that the mystic sees a perpetual spiritual show. "One sees 
the black, the blue, and the tawny colours. The eye is lost 
in the eye. Let now the blue colour remain firm in the mind 

In the eye one is able to see pure light, and one can see it 

even while living in the body" (Abg. 46). The dark-blue 
colour is very much insisted upon by .fnanesvara. God also 
manifests Himself in a dark-blue shape (Abg. 47). "Ihe 

dark-complexioned husband is the source of bliss He has 

filled my inside and outside," says Jnanadeva (Abg. 48). " It 
is impossible to take measure of Him. One cannot remember 
Him too often. One can never too much sing His praises 
when the dark-complexioned God is seen" (Abg. 49). It is 
this same dark-complexioned Being who lives in the heavens. 
He is the same as Atman. I have seen Him with these eyes, 
says Jnanadeva, where He remains imperishable as ever 


(Abg. 50), He plays a dark game on a dark night ; lie mani- 
fests himself as a dark-blue god (Abg. 51). The dark-blue 
colour fills the whole universe. The dark-blue being sees the 
dark-blue Person (Abg. 52). The blue light spreads every- 
where. The heavens are merged in that blue light. The 
blue God lives in our very hearts, says Jnanadeva (Abg. 53). 
7. Next to the experience of colour, comes the experience of 

forms, which are the objects of a mystic's 
Form experience. vision on his spiritual journey. Of these 

the pearl constitutes the first kind of 
experience. "Beautiful indeed is that pearl which sheds 
light through all its different eight sides" (Abg. 57). "The 

pearl ornament is indeed a source of bliss It cannot be 

had in the market. Tt cannot be had in a city. It can be 
had only by the force of concentration" (Abg. 58). "Priceless 
indeed is that jewel which thou hast attained. Dost thou 
not know that it is the source of the Godhead ? It cannot 
perish. It cannot be fathomed. It need not be protected 
from a robber That imperishable Jewel has been at- 
tained by me, says Jnanadeva, through the instruction of my 
Spiritual Teacher" (Abg. 56). Then Jnanadeva describes 
the experience of circles. "What work indeed has he ac- 
complished who has nob investigated the nature of the circle ? 
He has been inflated with ignorance and lias lived like an ass 

It is only when the circle has been investigated that 

God comes to be found. The mellifluous experience is hard 
to be spoken of. The first circle is of a white colour. In the 
midst of it is a dazzling circle. The still inner circle is of a 

red colour, and the final circle is blue Until this circle 

is investigated all else is ignorance 1 have spoken about 

it to you by the grace of Niviitti" (Abg. 59). Jnanadeva 
tells us further on that inside the palace of these circles is the 
form of God (Abg. 60). "This circle is indeed a void. What 
appears, is a void ; what sees, is a void ; when the void and 
the non-void are both lost, there is the form of the Self" (Abg. 
61). Next comes the vision of the eye. "By the eye is the 
eye to be seen, and it is indeed the end of the void. It shines 
forth like a dark-blue circle. In it rests the light form of God" 
(Abg. 62). It is the Eye of all eyes. It is the Blue of all the 
blues (Abg. 64). "Now my eye tries to penetrate my eye. 
The eye sees the eye in the eye. The eye was verily shown to 
Jfianadeva by Nivritti, and he saw the eye in all places" (Abg. 
63). Finally, Jnanadeva describes the experience of the vision 
of the Linga. "I have indeed seen the Linga, and have be- 
come as expansive as it is. It moves not, nor has it any form 


or qualities. In my body, I have seen this Lingam of light, 
and have embraced it without hands" (Abg. 65). Jnanadeva 
describes in a beautiful way how the whole Universe is like a 
Lingam. "I have seen the Linga" says he, "whose basin is 
the heaven, whose water-line is the ocean ; which is as fixed 
as the Sesha ; which is the support of all the three worlds ; 
which fills the whole Universe ; on which the clouds pour 
water ; which is worshipped by means of flowers in the form 
of the stars ; to which the offering of the moon as of a fruit 
is to be made ; before which the sun is waved as a light ; to 
whom the individual Self is to be offered as an oblation. I have 
worshipped it with ecstatic bliss. I have meditated upon that 
Lingam of light in my heart." says Jnanadeva (Abg. 66). 

8. Next to morphic experiences, come the experiences of 

light. Jnanadeva tells us that the whole 
Light experience. world is filled by incomparable light. 

"Interest merges in interest ; love throbs ; 
I have seen the intensive form of God. He is full of sound and 

light The dawn breaks, and the light of the Sun spreads 

forth By the spiritual instruction of Nivritti, Jnanadeva 

has attained to spiritual wisdom" (Abg. 73). "Jnanadeva some- 
times speaks of the moonlight which shines without the moon 

God, the cause of all the universe, appears there as subtle 

and as small as an atom. Vitthala is indeed personal and imper- 
sonal" (Abg. 71). "Even the sun's light is inferior to the light of 
the Atman. In God, indeed, there is neither day nor light. 
Beyond all duality Jnanadeva has seen the eye, and nothing can 
stand in comparison to it" (Abg. 70). God is indeed seen in the 
super-conscious state . . . His light is greater than the light of the 
moon and the sun. This Self -experience is known only to those 
who have learned it from their spiritual master (Abg. 69). And 
is it not wonderful, asks Jnanadeva, that the sun should shine 
by night, and the moon by day? Contrary to all ex- 
periences is this. There is neither rising nor setting in Atman. 
He is his own mirror. Only the man of experience knows, says 
Jnanadeva, and Saints became pleased by that sign (Abg. 72). 
" That light is indeed seen in the thousand-petalled lotus where 
there is neither name nor form" (Abg. 68) ; "and it is wonderful 
tha\ that light is neither hot nor cold" (Abg. 67) ; "and beyond 
indeed that light is God who remains transcendent" (Abg. 104). 

9. Jiianadeva's experience of sound is not expressed with 

the same fulness with which his colour 

Sound experience. experience or form experience or light 

experience are expressed. Indeed, in the 

Jnanesvaii, he has spoken of the sound which fills the whole 


universe, telling us that a mystic does not know whence it 
comes, and whither it goes. In his Abhangas he does make 
mention of that unstruck sound which is heard in the process 
of mystic contemplation, and Jnanadeva tells us that beyond 
it is the light of Cod (Abg. 74). Jnanadeva is also careful to 
describe the signs of approaching death. " When a man shuts 
his ears and does not hear the sound, he should know that he 
is going to die in nine days' time. When he looks at his brows 
and does not see them, he shall live only for seven days. By 
rubbing the eye, if he is not aj)le to see the circle, he will live 
only for five days. When he does not see the tip of his nose, 
on that day he will pass out of life. This indeed is the mark 
of a Saint, says Jnanadeva, and one may realise this at the 
time of his death" (Abg. 75). 

10. The experience of God can be attained in all the 

states of consciousness in the waking 
God can be attained state, in the dream state, in the deep- 
in all states of consci- sleep state, as well as in the super-con- 
ousness. scious state. When all these states be- 

come alike, thea God is attained. Jnana- 
deva employs an allegory to tell us how God is to be ex- 
perienced in all these states. The Waking State is personified 
and is made to say that she heard the voice of God in the 
courtyard, and saw Him with her own eyes. The Dream 
State and the Deep-Sleep State say that they are full of love 
towards God, and when they will realise God, then the 
cymbals will be sounded. The Super-conscious State is made 
to say that everything that belonged to her was taken away 
by God, and she was made to remain deeply silent (Abg. 84). 
Elsewhere also Jnanadeva tells us how in all the different 
states of consciousness in the waking state, in the dream- 
state, and in the deep-sleep state,- his mind was full of the 
bliss of God (Abg. 83). In fact, God's bliss, according to 
Jnanadeva, could be attained in all states of consciousness. 

11. Jnanadeva expresses variously the attainment of bliss 

consequent on communion with God. 

Experience of "As 1 went to see God, my intellect 

Bliss. stood motionless, and as I saw Him, I 

became Himself As a dumb man 

cannot express the sweetness of nectar, so also I cannot ex- 
press my internal bliss. God keeps awake in me, says Jnana- 
deva, and the Saints became pleased by this sign" (Abg. 79). 
This same silent communion with God Jiianadeva expresses 
in many other places. " Throughout all my experiences, 1 
have been overwhelmed with silence, What shall I do if I 


cannot speak a ' word ? Nivritti showed me the God in my 
heart, and T have been enjoying each day a new aspect of 
Him" (Abg. 76). "As I heard of Cod's qualities, my eager 
heart ran to meet Him. My body and mind and speech be- 
came transfixed. In all eagerness, my hands were lifted up. 
But as I saw the form of God, they remained motionless as 
it were. My eyes refused to wink, and 1 remained one with 
what I saw" (Abg. 88). "I have been satiated by the enjoy- 
ment of Divine experience, and I have been nodding from time 
after time. I have lost all desires ; 1 have grown careless of 
my body. Meum and Tuum have disappeared from me. 1 
became merged in God, arid the bliss was witnessed by all" 
(Abg. 81). "God indeed fills the inside and the outside, and 
as one goes to embrace Him, one becomes identified with Him. 
God cannot be warded off, even if one wills. Self-hood is at 
an end. As desire runs after God, God hides Himself. In a 
moment's time, however, He shows Himself, when all the de- 
sires remain tranquil" (Abg. 92). 

12. What is this Self-vision of which Jnanadeva speaks ? 
Jnanadeva characterises it in various 
The final experience different formula*. " \ have seen the God 
of the Self. unobtainable by the Yogins," he says, 

"and my heart's desire is not satisfied, 
even though I have been seeing Him for all time. T have seen 
the God of gods. My doubt is at an end. Duality has disap- 
peared. I have indeed seen God in various forms and under 
various descriptions" (Abg. 77). Contrasted with this atti- 
tude of assurance, is also the attitude of submission to the 
Divine will. Jnanadeva is aware that God's nature cannot 
be entirely understood. ' 'The cool south wind cannot be made 
to drop like water from a piece of cloth. The fragrance of 
flowers cannot be tied by a string. The Lord of all can neither 
be called great nor small. Who can know His nature ? The 
lustre of pearls cannot be made to fill a pitcher of water. 
The sky cannot be enveloped. The pupil in the eye cannot be 

separated from the eye The quarrel between God and 

his spouse cannot be made up. Hence, Jnanadeva meekly 
submits to the will of Ood" (Abg. 93). Jnanadeva is a past 
master in the Yogic vision of God, and he sees God in the 
immaculate region above the different plexuses. God ap- 
pears neither as male nor as female (Abg. 85). Both night 
and day are lost in God. Both the moon and the sun derive 
their light from Him. He appears as the unity of man and 
woman, and Siva and Sakti are both merged in Him (Abg. 
86). As Jnanadeva sees God, he finds Him in a)l directions, 


"He lights the lamp of experience, and the same vision appears 
to him in all the ten different quarters" (Abg. 87). God 
indeed fills not merely the whole outside, but also the entire 
inside of Jfianadeva. As Jiianadeva sees Him, he becomes 
merged in Him. "His mind becomes infatuated. Forget- 
ful ness becomes remembrance. The whole world seems to be 
lost in Cod" (Abg. 89). "That beautiful form of God infatu- 
ates him as he sees it. He sees his own form present every- 
where" (Abg. 80). "He sees the mirror of form without 
form. The seer vanishes. Everywhere God is present. There 
is neither any rising, nor any setting of God. God alone is, 
and He enjoys His own happiness in His unitive experience. 
The invisible Husband keeps awake on his bed without there 
being any partaker of it" (Abg. 91). This is what is meant 
by Self-vision. In order to attain to this, the body has first 
to be delivered over. "God is indeed seen as a full-grown 
sandal tree, or as a full-blossomed Asvattha. Jfianadeva 
bids adieu to all phenomenal existence. True bliss is to be 
found only in Self-vision" (Abg. 94). As Jfianadeva began 
to see himself, he was lost in himself. His mind remained 
cheated. God was inside, God was outside. He himself 
appeared to him as God. Nivritti had really killed his sepa- 
rate individuality (Abg. 95). Jnanadeva even supposed that 
in his ecstatic experience, he was one with his teacher Nivritti 
(Abg. 97), not to speak of his identity with God. God was 
his, and he was God's. This unity had naturally come about. 
God was himself, and he was God. Ignorant they, who did 
not know this unity (Abg. 98). He had seen God without the 
eye, and touched Him without the hand (Abg. 99). He 
had embraced him without a body (Abg. 101). Jnanadeva is 
anxious that God should speak a word with him, now that 
He has presented Himself before him. He is on the point of 
calling (Joel cruel (Abg. 102). But God indeed is able to 
satisfy all the desires of Jiianacleva. He, on whose forehead 
a thousand moons shine, whose eyes are as beautiful as a 
lotus, and who has a constant smile on His lips, begins to 
move before Jnanadeva, and nods before him. He stands up, 
and moves his hands, and speaks words in confidence from 
time to time, thus fulfilling all the desires of Jnanadeva (Abg. 
103). ur lhis is indeed the end of the Abhangas of Jnana- 
deva. In this wise is the super-conscious state to be reached. 
Nivritti alone knows the final cause of the Abhangas. A fool 
does not deserve to know this spiritual instruction : hence, 
he is unworthy of entering into this shrine of knowledge" 
(Abg. 105). 


Sopana, Muktabai and Changadeva. 

13. The Abhangas of Sopana, Muktabai and "Changadeva 
approximate to the Abhangas of Jnana- 
The teaching oi deva neither in quality nor in quantity. 
Sopaoa, Muktabai and Yet mystical experience in them is en- 
Changadeva. tirely unmistakable. Sopana tells us, that 

he, who contemplates upon the name 
of God, shall never come again to experience the turmoil of 
life after life (Abg. 1). He tells us that the distinction be- 
tween sacred and not-sacred, which people make, is entirely 
foolish. The only sacred thing in this world is God, 
and the not-sacred thing is the mind of the unbeliever. 
Sopana, having given himself over to God incessantly, is an 
exemplar of sacredness (Abg. 2). He also tells us that he 
forgot all joys and sorrows in the Name of God (Abg. 4), 
and that as soon as the sound of the devotees fell upon the 
ears of God, He came forth to receive them (Abg. 5). 

Muktabai tells us that she was leading merely a blind-fold 
life ; but she was awakened to spiritual consciousness by the 
grace of Nivritti (Abg. 1). She compares the grace of Niv- 
ritti to the bank of a river, across which, and by the help of 
which, she was able to swim to her goal (Abg. 2). She tells 
us also in a mystical fashion that "she saw an ant floating in 
the sky, and that this ant was able to devour the Sun. A 
great wonder it was, she says, that a barren woman gave birth 
to a child. The scorpion went to the nether world, and there 
the serpent fell at its feet. A fly was delivered, and gave birth 
to a kite. At these experiences, says Muktabai, she laughed" 
(Abg. 4). She asks us, who has been able to see the moon- 
light by day, and the hot sun-light by night (Abg. 5) ? She 
tells us that as the trees in a forest become fragrant by a 
sandal tree, which is in the midst of them, similarly, people 
begin to love God when there is a devotee in the midst of them 
(Abg. 6). Muktabai's advice to Changadeva is remarkable 
for its candour, and its grasp of truth. ""Turn back from 
the stream of life", she tells him ; " for if you wers to go across 
the current, you will be swept away. The water of the river of 
life runs with great force, and it throws down even the greatest 
of swimmers. Life indeed is transient, and you must not 
allow it to waste. Think of the internal sign, says Muktabai 
to Changadeva. For, it is the grace of God that would enable 
you to cross the stream of life" (Abg. 7). Muktabai also tells 
Changadeva to speak words of silence (Abg. 9). She ad- 
vises him to sleep the sleep of ecstasy, whereii* the unstruck 


sound is heard, the mind is regulated by the thread 
of breath, and a state is enjoyed which is beyond both sleep 
and consciousness (Abg. 10). "In that state," says Muktabai, 
" the bride-groom will come from the womb of the bride, 
and as the bride-groom comes out, the bride will vanish from 
before him, and there will be no limit to the happiness that 
may be enjoyed" (Abg. 12). 

Changadeva, who was taught the secret of spiritual life by 
Muktabai, tells us in his Abhangas that the body is the bride, 
while the Atman is the bride-groom (Abg. 4). After the 
marriage takes place, the bride-groom will go to his house, 
and the bride will be sent with him. "1 shall now re- 
main content," says Changadeva, fc< oricethat I have delivered 
over the bride into the hands of the bride-groom" (Abg. 5). 
Like Muktabai herself, Changadeva tells us that "the sky has 
been enveloped by an ant, and there a great wonder took place. 
It was one gnat which enveloped the whole Universe" (Abg. 7). 
"As from a sound-machine, words come out, and there 
is yet no person who is visible, similarly, the flute is 
playing all day, says Changadeva, and its sound has filled the 
whole Universe. Changadeva, who merged himself in this 
all-enveloping sound, became Cod by meditating on God" 
(Abg. 10). 

General Review. 

1. Of the three great works of Jfianadeva, the Jnanesvari, 
the Amritanubhava and the Abhangas, it 

General Review of is evident that the Amritanubhava is, 
the Period. on the whole, a philosophical work, the 

Abhangas a mystical work, while the 
Jnanesvari contains both philosophy and mysticism. We 
have characterised Jnanadeva's mysticism as intellectual 
mysticism, because it is rooted in tlie firm philosophical 
groundings of the Bhagavadglta. His Commentary on the 
Bhagavadglta may be regarded as evidently the greatest 
of the Commentaries that exist on that immortal poem. This 
may be evident from the copious citations that we have given 
in our exposition of the Jfianesvari from that great work. The 
world will await the day when the whole of the Jnanesvari 
may be translated into English, and thus be made available 
to the world of scholars. But our selections, representative 
as they are, will sufficiently show the greatness of Jnanadeva's 
vision. On the ethical side, especially, the Jfianesvari excels 
almost any great work on moral philosophy. Its analysis 
of the different virtues is acute and profound. r j he philoso- 
phical grounding of Jfianadeva, as evidenced in the Jiianesvari, 
is more or less of the Advaitic kind, though occasionally here 
and there some concession is made to the other schools of the 
Vedanta. Sir JRamakrishna Bhandarkar once expressed his 
great inability to understand how the Maratha Saints could 
reconcile Advaitism with Bhakti. It is exactly this recon- 
ciliation which is made in Mysticism generally, and more parti- 
cularly in the Mysticism of the Maharashtra school which is 
worth while noting. The philosophical foundation of the 
Amritanubhava is somewhat in a different line. There we 
see how Jfianadeva is under the influence of the philosophy 
of the Siva-sutras when he refers to such terms as Pinda, 
Pada, Siva, and Sakti. It will be an interesting study when 
Gorakshnatha's and other Nathas' works are discovered to see 
how much Jfianadeva owes to that school. But it is evident, 
as we see in Amritanubhava 111. 16, that Jfianadeva had come 
definitely under the influence of the Siva-sutra philosophy : 
3?Tfr SIR 3% \q i %^^T%T% fire i frfrraS 3?*r i ^TT%%. Then 
again, we have to take into account the way in which 
Jfianadeva argues against the Maya doctrine as ordinarily 
understood, and it is wonderful, as Pandit Panduranga Sarma 
has pointed out, how Jilanadeva uses the very same arguments 


against the Maya doctrine as Ramanuja had used in the Sri- 
bhashya. But we must not suppose that Jnanadeva was not 
a believer in the Maya doctrine in its ethical and mystical 
aspects. Metaphysically, no doubt he advances the Sphurti- 
vada in the Amritanubhava : as light may come from a jewel, so 
the world comes from God, and the world is to the same extent 
real as the light is. This does not bespeak the utter unreality 
of the world according to Jnanadeva. Ethically and mystically, 
however, we know how in his Jnariesvari he cries aloft : - 



i qpjRTcS n Jiia. VII. 68-97. 

Jnanadeva points out unmistakably the unreality of existence 
in this mortal world, and he calls the minds of the people 
back to the spiritual life which alone is the true reality. < 
This Reality could be attained through devotion. Jnanadeva's 
philosophy preserves both the oneness and the manyness of 
experience. His spiritual Mysticism reconciles both Monism 
and Pluralism. "Not in the Monism of SaihkarScharya, nor 
in the Dualism that is quite satisfied to remain two, but in 
the spiritual experience that transcends and includes them 
both, is peace to be found" (Maciiicol). It is not our business 
here to enter into a philosophical discussion of the nature of 
Mysticism. But we may say that it does not regard the dua- 
lity of devotion and the unity of mystical experience as con- 
tradictory of each other. It was thus that Jnanadeva and 
Nivrittinatha and Sopana and the rest could start by Bhakti 
to end in Unitive Experience. Farquhar fitly calls Jnana- 
deva the " Cpryphapus ' ' of the whole Bhakti movement of 
the M aratha country. When Jnanadeva had once laid the 
intellectual foundations of mysticism, the superstructure which 
the other Saints raised was a matter of not very great diffi- 
culty. Nivrittinatha must have been a great Saint indeed - 
a Saint who could have a disciple like Jnanadeva. Sopana, 
Jnanadeva has praised immensely. Muktabai, the young sister 
of the three brotKer saints, was perhaps the greatest of the 
Indian mystical poetesses. Changadeva, who comes at the end 
of the line, is a sublime illustration of the insufficiency of the life 
of mere Yogic power before a truly mystical attainment of God. 

The Age of Namadeva: Democratic Mysticism. 

Biographical Introduction. 

1. When we come to the age of Namadeva, we come upon 
an age which is filled with the echoes of 

A short History of the Sampradaya of Vitthala. 1 he great 
Vilthala Sampradaya. saint Jnanadeva lived only for a short time 
to be able to spread during his life-time the 
Sampradaya of Vitthala far and wide. The work, which had 
been begun by Jnanadeva, was continued by Namadeva, who, 
though he was born at the same time as Jnanadeva, lived for 
more than half a century after him, during which period he 
became the pillar of the Vitthala Sampradaya at Pandharpur. 
It was in his time most especially that Pandharpur gained its 
great importance. It is true that the shrine of Vitthala at Pan- 
dharpur was erected even before the days of Jnanadeva and 
Namadeva. It is probable that Pundalika was the first great 
high priest of the God of Pandharpur. As to where and when 
this saint actually lived we have not any records to determine. 
It seems, however, that Pundalika was a Oanarese saint, and 
the temple which is built in his memory is on the sands of the 
Bhima. As to whether this temple of Puijdallka is to be 
regarded as a Samadhi of Puiidalika, or merely a temple erected 
to his memory, we have again 110 evidence to determine. It 
is, however, to be noted that that temple contains a Lin gam 
of Siva, and even here, as in the case of Jnanadeva, we have to 
remember that Pundalika, who was one of the greatest of the 
devotees of Vitthala, had a Lirgam of Siva erected in memory 
of him. In fact, all these saints of Pandharpur knew no dis- 
tinction between Saivism and Vaishnavism. As Dr. P. R. 
Bhandarkar has cleverly pointed out, the epithet, Pandu- 
ranga, the "white-limbed" God, which is really the name of 
Siva, is here transferred to Vitthala, just to show that there 
is ultimately no difference between Saivism and Vaishnavism. 
We have already seen in the Chapter on Jnanesvara that the 
earliest inscription of Vitthala and Rakhumai is to be found in 
Aland!, dated 1209 A.D.* (Sake 1131). Later in chronology to 
this is the inscription of 1237 A.D. (Sake 1159) in the temple 
of Vithoba in Pandharpur itself, where we read that a cer- 
tain king, called Somesvara, had conquered the kings round 
about his territory, and had encamped in the year 1237 A.D. 
(Sake 1159) in a town called "Paridarige" on the banks of the 
Bhimarathi, where Pundallka was being lovingly remembered 
by people as a great sage. Ihe next inscription is of the date 


1273 A.D. (Sake 1195) from that temple itself, which records 
.that in that year the temple of Vitthala was being rebuilt, 
and that during the period from 1273 A.I), to 1277 A.D. (Sake 
11951199) funds were being collected in order to raise a 
suitable temple to the God. In this inscription, the names of 
those who contributed to the rebuilding of the temple are 
mentioned, most prominently among whom are the names of 
Hemadapant, the minister of Kamdevrao Jadhava, and of the 
King Ramdevrao Jadhava himself, who visited the temple 
in 1276 A.I). (Sake 1198), and gave the temple a very large 
subsidy. It would seem therefore that the Sampradaya of 
Vitthala at Pandharpur was prevalent even before the time of 
Jnanadeva and Namadeva, and that after Pundallka the 
greatest saints in the history of Sampradaya were Jnanadeva 
and Namadeva themselves. Pilgrims from all parts of the 
country flocked to Pandharpur from Gujerath, Karnatak, the 
Telugu and Tamil Districts, as well as from the Maratha Pro- 
vince. The Kirtana, as a method of spreading the gospel 
of these saints, seems to have originated in the necessity of 
making their spiritual ideas clear to the many pilgrims who 
were flocking to Pandharpur, and it seems, to a certain ex- 
tent, Jnanadeva himself, and after him Namadeva, were the 
greatest of the early Kirtana-performers, or singers of the 
praise of God. 

2. That Jnanadeva and Namadeva were contemporaries, 

that they went together on a pilgrimage 

Jnanadeva and Nama- from Pandharpur, that they were bro- 

dcva as Contempora- thers in a spiritual Sampradaya, are 

riei. facts too well-grounded, and not mere 

myths to be disturbed by sceptical con- 
siderations. Ihe fact that there is a difference of language 
between the Jnanesvari and the Abhangas of Namadeva 
is not an argument to prove any difference of time between 
the two great saints. r J he originals of Namadeva's Abhangas 
are not preserved. They have undergone successive changes, 
as they were recited and have been handed over from mouth 
to mouth. All these facts account for the modernness of 
Namadeva's style. For that very same reason, for which 
the Abhangas of Jnanadeva are separated, for example from 
the JnaneSvari by these critics, would they separate the 
Abhangas of Namadeva in time from the writings of Jnana- 
deva. But the considerations we have adduced above will 
convince our readers that there is justification enough for the 
modernness of Namadeva's style. Moreover, the fact must 
not be lost sight of, that there might be a difference of style 


from individual to individual. This consideration also 
will justify us in not separating Namadeva from Jnanadeva 
in time. According to Bharadvaja's proposition, Jnanadeva, 
the author of the Abhangas, was contemporaneous with 
Namadeva. But, as we have established in our last Chapter 
that the Jnanadeva of the Abhangas is not a different Jnana- 
deva from the Jnanadeva of the Jnanesvaii, the supposition 
that Namadeva was a contemporary of the Jnanadeva of the 
Abhangas loses all meaning. Nor can Bharadvaja's argument 
that the reference in Namadeva to the Mahomedan invasions, 
and the absence of it in the Jnanesvari, be an argument for 
the difference in time between Jiianadeva and Namadeva. As 
we have shown in our introduction to the age of Jnanadeva, 
Allauddin Khilji invaded the Deccan in 1294 A.D. (Sake 
1216), that is to say, about two years before Jnanadeva passed 
away ; while, as we shall see later on, Namadgga^s death feaok 
jijlflr^jj] pQ A.T) T (Sake 1272). Thus there is clearly a differ- 
ence of fifty-four years between the dates of Jnanadeva's 
and Namadeva's passing away. During this half century, 
it is not impossible that the invasions of the Mahomedans 
had made great impression upon the minds of the Marathas ; 
andjience it is no wonder that Namadeva refers to these inva- 
sionsjin., Hs Abhangag ; while we can see from the very same 
fact why Jnanadeva could not have referred to them. The 
only sense in which we can say that Namadeva was later than 
Jnanadeva is this : not that Namadeva was separated from 
Jnanadeva in time by over a century as some critics would 
have it, but that even though they were born about the same 
time, Namadeva outlived Jnanadeva by over half a century. 
It is only in this sense that we may say that Namadeva was 
later than Jnanadeva ; while, the fact that they lived and 
moved together could be seen not merely from the account of 
their travels given in the TIrthavall of Namadeva which no- 
body has hitherto dared to regard as mythical, but also from 
the many references in Namadeva to Jnanadeva, as well as 
from the references in Jnanadeva to Namadeva, whom he 
declares to be verily 'the illumination of the world'. 

3. From an Abbanga written by Namadeva himself, it 

"seemsThat Namadeva was born in 1270 

A sketch of A.D. (Sake 1192), that is, a few years 

Namadeva's life. before Jnanadeva. Namadeva tells us 

that a certain Brahmin, Babaji by name, 

had cast his horoscope, foretelling that Namadeva would 

compose a hundred crores of Abhangas (Abg. I). In another 

of his Abhangas, we read that his father Damaseta was a tailor 


by caste, and. Jjgfid in^Narasingpui;. The same Abhanga tells 
us thaFNamadeva led a very lawless life in the beginning of 
his career. We are told that he was a marauder, and a way- 
layer, who once upon a time killed eighty-four horsemen, and 
when he had gone to visit the temple of Amvadhya, as was his 
usual custom, he saw a woman rebuking her child which was 
crying because it had nothing to eat ; and when Namadeva in- 
quired, she told him that she was made a widow, and the child 
an orphan, on account of her husband being killed among the 
eighty-four horsemen by a certain way-layer ; upon which 
Namadeva's heart was touched to the quick, and he went inside 
the temple and in the fury of repentance, he struck his neck with 
a scythe, and let loose streams of blood on the Deity. The wor- 
shippers of the temple saw that horrible deed, asked him the 
reason why he was doing it, and turned him out of the temple. 
He went to Pandharpur and determined to lead a holy and pious 
life. Thus it was by the tears that were shed by a woman whom 
in his lawlessness he had made a widow, that he was suddenly 
converted from an evil life, and he then determined to lead the 
life of a saint. He uscd_to_yisjt the temple &t Pandliarjnir 
an^Fall^DrostratQ before Ga3. "After some years of repen- 
tance and devotion to God, he came to realise the nature of 
God. The story goes that when Jnanadeva, Gora Kumbhara, 
and other saints had once- gathered together at Pandharpur, 
Gora began to test which of the "pots" that had gathered there 
were ripe, and which w r ere unbaked ; and he ultimately found 
that Namadeva was entirely an unbaked pot. This story we 
shall give later in detail in the very words of Namadeva. Here 
we have made a reference to it just to give completeness to 
the life-story of Namadeva at this stage. Namadeva felt 
very sorry, and finding that he was the only unbaked pot 
in the whole assembly of saints, determined to find a Guru, 
through whom he might know the way to spiritual life. He went 
to Visoba Khechara, some say at Barsi, while others say at 
Amvadhya, where Namadeva was convinced by Visoba 
Khechara of the Omnipresence of God, and was initiated by 
him into the spiritual life. Thereupon, Namadeva became 
worthy of the company of the Saints at Pandharpur. Many 
stories are told of the way in which Namadeva led a perfectly 
spiritual life. While he was once eating a piece of bread, 
a dog appeared before him, and ran away with the piece. 
Namadeva pursued it with a pot of curds, praying that it should 
partake of the curds also. This story shows how Namadeva 
began to see God in every creature. r lhere are all kinds of 
miracles told about Namadeva, especially while he and 


Jnanadeva had gone on their famous pilgrimage. Janabai tells us 
how once upon a time Namadeva by his power saved Pandhar- 
pur from the ravages of a great flood. Namadeva's house in 
Pandharpur is still shown. There is still the image of Kesi- 
raja in that house. Before the great image in the temple at 
Pandharpur, Namadeva danced in spiritual ecstasy. He was 
probably the greatest of the early Kirtana-performers. He 
developed the Sampradaya of Pandhari, as no other single 
saint ever did. There were a number of other Saints in his 
time at Pandharpur, and they all formed a happy spiritual 
company. It seems that Namadeva died in 1350 A.D. (Sake 
1272), that is, about fifty-four years later than Jnanadeva. 
The passing away of Jnanadeva must have been a very severe 
blow to Namadeva. jjianadeva and Namadeva represent 
the intellectual and the emotional sides of spiritual life. Ac- 
cording to some, Visoba's spiritual teacher was Sopana, and 
according to others Jnanadeva. If the latter be true, then 
Jnanadeva happens to be the teacher's teacher of Namadeva. 
Namadeva is buried at the great door of the temple of Vithoba. 
Namadeva and Chokhamela stand face to face before the front 
door of the temple. The priests in Vithoba's temple say 
that the bones of the Namadeva who was buried at the front 
door are the bones of a Brahmin Namadeva, about whom 
we shall speak presently, and not of the tailor Namadeva. 
But this does not seem to be established. For, the Brahmin 
Namadeva who was otherwise called Vishnudasa Nama does not 
seem to be so great a saint as to deserve the honour of being 
buried in the very front of the temple of Vithoba. On the other 
hand, the tailor Namadeva^ who is one of the greatest pf^the 
sajnts_that ever Jived, may be regarded as'Tngntly deserving 
tTiat honour. Whether the other members of Namadeva's 
family were alike buried near the front door is questionable. 
But we can definitely take the "Payari" which is known at 
present as "Namadeva's Payari" before the great door of the 
temple, as the Samadhi of the great saint. 
4. An authentic collection of Namadeva's Abhangas has 

yet to be made. Indeed this matter is 

Namadeva and one of insuperable difficulty, inasmuch as 

Vishnudasanama. the Abhangas of the Tailor Namadeva and 

the Abhangas of the Brahmin Namadeva 
are hopelessly mixed. The only possible criterion of the sepa- 
ration of the Abhangas of the one from those of the other, 
is that the latter probably invariably calls himself Vishnu- 
dasanama. It is evident that the latter, who came after the 
earlier Namadeva by a couple of centuries, had justification 


for calling his Abhangas as those of Vishnudasanama, to 
distinguish them from the Abhangas of Namadeva. The 
earlier Namadeva, if he ever called himself Vishnudasanama, 
called himself so, only in the sense that he was a devotee of 
God. The later Namadeva, when he calls himself Vishnu- 
dasanama, uses the term as an appellation. There are other 
criteria also. The criteria of brilliance of imagination, of 
simplicity of style, the comparative oldness of vocabulary, 
arid such others, must be systematically applied, and some 
day, we hope, an authentic collection of the great Namadeva' s 
Abhangas will be made. We have said that there is a differ- 
ence of a couple of centuries between the earlier Namadeva, 
who was a tailor, and the later Namadeva who was a Brahmin. 
Mr. Bhave has shown that the date of the later Namadeva should 
be taken as 1578 A.D. (Sake 1500). In any case, his Abhangas 
cannot command the originality and the spontaneity of the 
Abhangas of the earlier Namadeva. It is probably a confusion 
of these two Namadevas, which lies at the bottom of trans- 
ferring even the earlier Namadeva to about a century or two 
later, and many critics have fallen a prey to it. As Pandit 
Pandurangasarma has shown, the earlier Namadeva's exploits 
are referred to in Narasi Mehta's "Haramala", A.D. 1413 
(Samvat 1470). This means that Namadeva's name must 
have been a classical one at the time when Narasi Mehta wrote 
the work. Moreover, the eighty Abhangas of Namadeva 
in the Granthasaheb of the Sikhs must be attributed to the 
earlier Namadeva. I n our account of the teachings of the earlier 
and the later Namadevas, we have tried as best we can to sepa- 
rate their Abhangas by the tests we have referred to ; but 
our conclusions at this stage could only be provisional. It 
is only when the tests we have referred to have been applied 
severely, and the Abhangas thus separated into two different 
groups, that we shall ultimately be able to say that our con- 
clusions are final. 

5. Of the contemporary saints of Namadeva, Gfora. the 

Efltter, evidently takes the first place. 
Gora, the Potter. He was born in 1267 A.D. (Sake 1189), 

three years before Namadeva, and about 
eight years before Jnanadeva. As he was the eldest of the 
contemporary saints, he was called 'Uncle Gora 5 . He lived 
at Teradhoki. As we have seen, he was given the work of 
testing the spirituality of Namadeva by Jnanadeva and others. 
He was present at the Jnanadeva-Namadeva pilgrimage, and 
was respected by all his contemporaries. The story goes that 
he was so filled with God-devotion that he once did not know 


that lie had trampled his child in clay under his feet, while he 
was dancing in joy. But by God's grace the child was saved. 

6. Visoba Khechara, who is next in importance as being the 

teacher of Namadeva, has been supposed to 
Visoba Khechara. have lived either at Amvadhya or Barsi. 

He was called Khechara in contempt by 
Muktabai and Jiianadeva, as he did not at first believe in them. 
But, having later come to know their spiritual greatness, he 
became their disciple. While Namadeva went to meet him, he 
had placed his feet upon a Lin gam of Siva, and when Nama- 
deva rebuked him for having insulted the deity, Visoba asked 
him to place his feet elsewhere, where also as the story goes, 
there sprang up a Lingam of Siva under his feet. This only 
means that Visoba convinced Namadeva of the omnipresence of 
God. He also accompanied Jnanadeva and Namadeva in their 
pilgrimage. He died at Barsi on Sravana Suddha Ekadasi, 
1309 A.D. (Sake 1231). 

7. The third of the great contemporary saints of 

Namadeva, was Samvata. the ffardefier o 

Samvata, the Aranagapn. Aranagaon is a village three 

Gardener. ftifl^fe ftftm Modanimba Station, B. L. 

Kailway, and is under Miraj jurisdiction. 
His garden and well are shown even to-day. Samvata could 
see God in everything, before Namadeva could. He was also 
present in the Jnatiadeva-Namadeva pilgrimage. He died 
on Ashadha Vadya Chaturdasi, 1295 A.D. (Sake 1217). His 
Samadhi is at Aranagaon. This is a very well-built building, 
much of the expenses of which have been defrayed by the 
gardener community of Bombay and Poona. One of the 
Brahmin Bhaktas of Samvata has been buried before him. 
Aranagaon is worth while a visit. 

8. Narahari, the goldsmith, was at first an inhabitant of 

Devagiri, and then he came to Pandharpur. 
Narahari, the Gold- He was a great devotee of Siva, and could 
smith. not appreciate Vitthala-Bhakti at first. It 

seems that on account of the influence exer- 
cised by Jiianadeva and others, he came into the Bhagavata 
line. A story is also told how he came to recognise the identity 
of Siva and* Vishnu. He died in 1313 A.D. (Sake 1235). 

9. Chokha, the untpuchablp. was a resident of Mangalvedhd. 

^^Tfangalvedha is now a Taluka under the 

Chokha, the Un- State of Sangli and is well worth a visit 

touchable. on account of the many antiquarian relics 

there. Chokha was a great devotee of the 

God of Pandharpur, and being of the outcast community, cou!4 


only pray to God from outside the temple at Pandharpur. But 
God Vithoba loved him none the less. He had a son called 
Karma, and a sister called Nirmala. He was also present in the 
Jnanadeva-Namadeva pilgrimage. While he was at work on 
the parapet at Mangalvedha, the wall fell down on him, and 
he died with the other workers under the wall in 1338 A.D. 
(Sake 1260). The devotees of Pandharpur wanted to bring 
the bones of Chokha to Pandharpur. But they could not know 
how to distinguish his bones from those of others. So they 
prayed to Namadeva to tell them how they could separate the 
bones of Chokha from those of the rest. Namadeva told them 
to pick up only those bones from the ruins, from which was 
audible the name of Vitthala, and the story goes that the bones 
were thus separated and brought to Pandharpur. This story 
only shows that devotion to the Name of God had penetrated to 
the very bones of Chokha, and that even though his physical 
body was dead, the inert matter of which his body was com- 
posed could still be a witness to the presence of God. Chokhii's 
bones were carried to Pandharpur, and can even to-day be seen 
placed in a Samadhi before the front-door of the temple just 
opposite to the place where Namadeva' s bones have been placed. 

10. JanabaL who is the next in the order of seniority, was a 

Tnaid-flpflYfljit of Namadeva. While only 
Janabai, the Maid. a girl, she was handed over to the care of 

Damaseta by her father, and she spent 
her life in doing menial service at Namadeva's house, and in 
singing the praises of God. She was the greatest of the female 
disciples of Namadeva, as VenubSi and Akka were the greatest 
of the female disciples of Ramadasa. As regards her place 
among the female saints of Maharashtra, we may say that 
she was the greatest of them, barring only the sister of Jfiana- 
deva, namely, Muktabai. Her Abhangas show a fervour, in 
which she is certainly influenced by the great devotion of Nama- 
deva. We also owe to her certain Abhangas which enable us 
to discuss the historical position of Namadeva and other saints. 

11. Sena, the Jjjajdj&r> was in the service of the king of 

** Bedar. He was so given to God-devotion, 

Sena, the Barber. that he once gave no heed to the king's in- 
vitation for shaving, while he was engaged 

in meditation. He lived about the year 1448 A.D. (Sake 1370), 
and could say that he could show God to others as in a mirror. 

12. Karmqpatra was a very beautiful daughter of Syama, 

a dancing woptian in Mangalvedha. She 

ICanhftpaira. the said that she would marry only him whose 

Dancing Girl. beauty equalled hers. She found the 

beauty only in the God of Pandharpur, 


and remained there as Vithoba's worshipper. The king of 
Bedar once sent for the beautiful Kanhopatra. She im- 
plored God to save her, but when the messengers insisted 
upon taking her to the king of Bedar, she decided to give up 
the ghost rather than go to the king of Bedar. The dead 
body was thus laid at the feet of God, and she was buried to 
the south of the temple. A strange tree has sprung up on the 
place where she was buried. This tree still remains, and is 
worshipped by all pilgrims. She seems to have lived about 
1468 A.D. (Sake 1390). With this biographical introduction 
to Namadeva and his contemporary saints, let us now turn to 
a survey of their teachings as gathered from their various 

The Abhangas of Namadeva and Contemporary Saints. 

1. The great characteristic of the Abhangas of Namadeva 
is the manner in which we see always 
The Heart-rendings of how his heart pants for God. Like 
Namadeva. Tukarama at a later date, Namadeva 

also experienced much heart-rending for 
the attainment of God. This state has been characterised 
in Western Mysticism as "the Dark Night of the Soul". We 
will see how, in the case of Namadeva, this state was 
experienced partially. Later, we will see how Tukarama 
experienced it fully. We may say that Namadeva in this 
respect approaches Tukarama more than Jiianadeva. "As 
a bee's heart might be set upon the fragrance of a flower, or as 
a fly might take resort to honey, similarly does my mind 
cling to God," says Namadeva (Abg. 11). "1 am called lord- 
less, lordless ; but Thou art called the Lord. I am called 
fallen, fallen ; but Thou art called the reliever of the fallen. 
Poor, poor, do they call me; but they call Thee the reliever of 
the poor in heart. They call me afflicted, afflicted ; but they 
call Thee one who wouldst relieve people of their afflictions. 
If Thou wert not to listen to me, says Namadeva, would it 
not be a matter of shame ? " (Abg. 13). In this world, there is 
nobody else except r l hee for whom I care, or who cares for 
me (Abg. 14). This little Samsara has had the power to conceal 
Thee, who art all-encompassing. Thou obligest me to cling 
to Samsara, arid thus bringest to me the treachery of my 
Lord. I have now come to know Thy wiles, says Namadeva ; 
I shall take any measures I will (Abg. 16). If the moon were 
to satisfy the desires of the Chakora, would her light be dimi- 
nished for the obligation ? (Abg. 18.) If a cloud were to quench 
the thirst of a Chataka bird, would his greatness be thereby 
lessened ? (Abg. 19.) Thou art my bird, I am Thy young one. 
Thou art my deer, I am Thy cub (Abg. 20). If the mother- 
bird moves out of her nest in the morning, its young ones keep 
looking out for her. Similarly, does my mind look out for 
Thee, my Lord (Abg. 22). If a child falls into a fire, its mother 
comes to its succour with an overpowered heart. If a fire 
envelopes a forest, the mother-deer is afflicted for its young 
one. In a similar way, says Namadeva, Thou must care for 
me (Abg. 23). When I consider that, at the end of my life, I 
shall have to depart alone ; when I think that my mother who 
bore me in her womb for nine months will cruelly stand aside 


when I find the futility of the affection which sisters and bro- 
thers bear towards me ; when T find that children and wife shall 
stay away when my body will be burning upon the funeral 
pile ; when I contemplate how friends and relatives shall leave 
me in the cemetery and walk away ; I then begin to shed tears ; 
my throat chokes ; I find that darkness reigns everywhere ; 
my only resort is Thy feet, says Namadeva (Abg. 24). I con- 
template an immolation of myself at Thy feet. The river of 
desire, however, carries me away. I cannot be rescued from 
the river by any other swimmer except Thee ; hence, throw 
Thyself into the river with Thy apparel to rescue me. The 
necklace of the nine jewels of devotion has been sub- 
merged in the river. The gourds of courage and discrimi- 
nation have been broken to pieces. Faith, the rope by which 
one might swim out, has been sundered in twain. The great 
iish plying into the waters, namely Anger, is intent upon carry- 
ing me to the bottom of the river. Thou shouldst swiftly 
leap into the river to take me out, says Namadeva (Abg. 28). 
With tears in the eyes and with out-stretched hands. Nama- 
deva is looking out for his Lord (Abg. 30). Shameless as 
he is, with his life-breath centred in his throat, he has been 
thinking about Thee night and day (Abg. 31). The three 
fires of the physical, metaphysical, and accidental evils, have 
been burning fiercely before me. When wouldst Thou rain 
from heaven, Cloud of Mercy ? 1 have been caught in the 
flames of grief and infatuation. The wild conflagration of 
anxiety has spread all round. I am going to the bottom 
of the river and coining up again. Unless Thou, O Cloud of 
Mercy, run to my succour, my life-breath will depart from me 
(Abg. 32). Thou shouldst not consider my merit. I am an 
ocean of sin incarnate. From top to toe, 1 have committed 
sins innumerable (Abg. 35). Do you think that I shall grow 
weary, and go away from your presence, feeling that you would 
not come ? The rope of my life 1 shall bind to Thy feet, and 
shall bring Thee to me at pleasure. It is best therefore that 
Thou shouldst see me of r l hy own accord (Abg. 36). 1 shall 
spread the meshes of my love and catch Thee alive. I shall 
make my heart a prison for Thee, and shall intern Thee inside. 
I shall beat Ihee with the voice of Self-identity, and Thou 
shalt surely ask for compassion (Abg. 37). Thy genero- 
sity has been falsely praised. Thou givest only when Thou 
hast taken away (Abg. 40). The great Bali threw his body 
at Thy feet, and then Thou hadst compassion on him. Thy 
devotees have sacrificed their lives for Thy sake. Thou shouldst 
not forget that it is these devotees that have brought name to 

13 F 


Thee (Abg. 41). If a king leaves away his wife, does she not 
rule over the world ? If the son of an Emperor has com- 
mitted a fault, is it possible that any other man might bring 
him to book ? We may possess as many faults as we like, and 
yet our faults are in the Lord (Abg. 44). We shall speak such 
words as will make God nod in joy. Love shall fill every 
part of our body, and our mouth will utter the name of 
God. We shall dance in the performance of Kirtana, shall 
light the lamp of knowledge in this world, and live in a 
place which is beyond the highest. All power has come to 
me, says Namadeva, on account of the gift of my Spiritual 
Teacher (Abg. 47). 
/ 2. Among all the Saints of Maharashtra, we find a 

perpetual insistent on ttiQ significance 

Namadeva's Insistence and efficacy of th^ Nfurm of God ; 
on the Name of God, and of all , these saints, we may say, 
Namadeva's insistence upon the Name 
is the strongest^, "if I were to leave meditation on 
Thy feet even for a while," says Namadeva, "my life- 
breath will vanish instantly. If there were a cessation to 
the utterance of the name of God in my mouth, my tongue 
will split a thousand-fold. ]f my eyes were not to see 
Thy beautiful form, they would come out forcibly from their 
sockets" (Abg. 49). Through mystical experience, through 
devotion, through deceipt, through the torments of Samsara, 
let the name of God always dance upon the tongue (Abg. 51). 
There is neither time nor season for the meditation of God. 
There is neither a high caste nor low in His meditation. 
He who is the Ocean of love and pity shall come to the 
succour of all (Abg. 54). The great Siva was tormented 
by the poison called Halahala, and yet his body became cool 
when he meditated on God. In the eighteen Puranas, says 
Namadeva, the only remedy narrated is the utterance of the 
Name of God (Abg. 55). The Panda vas, even though they 
were enveloped in a house of fire, were saved because they 
meditated on the name of God. The cow-herds could not be 
burnt by fire, because they held God in their hearts. Hanuman 
could not be burnt by fire, because he meditated on the name 
of Rama. Fire had no power over Prahlada, because he con- 
stantly uttered the name of God. Sita was not burnt by 
fire, because she set her heart upon Raghunatha. The home of 
Bibhishana was saved in the holocaust at Lanka, says Nama- 
deva, because he meditated on the name of God (Abg. 59). 
The coverings of untruth, which envelop a man's words, shall 
never depart except through a meditation on God (Abg. 61). 


The Name of God is the Form of God, and the Form of God 
is the Name of God. There is no other remedy except the 
Name of God, says Namadeva, and anybody who says there 
is another is a fool (Abg. 64). God may remain concealed ; 
but He cannot conceal His name. When we have once uttered 
His name, He cannot escape from us (Abg. 66). Let the 
body live or depart, fix your mind upon God. 1 shall never 
leave Thy feet, says Namadeva, shall keep Thy Name in my 
mouth, and set my heart aflame with Thy love. I only 
implore Thee, says Namadeva, that Thou shouldst fulfil my 
resolve (Abg. 67). To be in Samsara is even a pleasure, when 
the mind is once set upon God (Abg. 68). jPoor . Brahmins 
do not know the secret of realisation. God can be attained by 
meditation on His name only. I implore the young and the 
old, says Namadeva, to cling fast to the Name of God. In all 
your religious ceremonies, you should think only of God, and 
nothing else (Abg. 72). They paint the pictures of the sun 
or the moon, but they cannot paint the picture of light. They 
can put on the apparel of a Samnyasin, but they cannot imi- 
tate his dispassion. r l hey may perform a Kirtana, says Nama- 
deva, but they will miss the nature of God-love (Abg. 75). 
With a Vina in my hand, and with the name of God in my 
mouth, I shall stand up in the temple of God. I shall renounce 
all food and ' water, and shall think of nothing but God. 1 
shall forget my mother, or father, or wife, or children. I shall 
lose all bodily consciousness, and merge it in the Name of God, 
says Namadeva (Abg. 77). If, in such a condition, Death 
comes to devour me, I shall sing and dance in joy. My only 
wish is, says Namadeva, that 1 should serve Thee from life to 
life (Abg. 80). 

3. We have said in a foregoing chapter that one of the 
uses to which the Abhanga was put was 
Reflections on Social for reflection Qfl SQCJaljaattgr^, as it was 
Matters. also "for the purpose of personal devo- 

tion. Namadeva very often makes use of 
his Abhangas to discourse on social topics. He tells us that 
it is impossible that the pursuit of God can be coupled with 
a life of Samsara. If it had been possible, he tells us, for a 
man to find God while he was pursuing Samsara, then Sanaka 
and others would not have grown mad after God. If it 
had been possible for him to see God while carrying on the 
duties of a house-holder, the great Suka would not have gone 
to the forest to seek God. Had it been possible for people 
to find God in their homes, they would not have left them to 
out God, Namadeva says that he has left away all these 


things, and is approaching God in utter submission (Abg. 83). 
Then, again, he tells us that our one goal should be the vision 
of God, whatever pursuit we might be undertaking. Children 
send a kite into the sky with a rope in their hands ; but their 
attention is upon the kite, and not upon the rope. A woman 
from Gujerath goes with pitcher piled upon pitcher, moving 
her hands freely, but her attention is riveted upon the pit- 
chers. An unchaste woman has her heart always set upon 
her lover. A thief sets his heart upon other people's gold. 
A covetous man has his attention ever directed towards his 
treasure. We may carry on any pursuit, says . Namadeva, 
provided we always tjiink of God (Abg. 85). Then, again, 
he tells us that it is the consideration of the belly which is 
paramount with all people in the world. The belly, which 
is scarcely larger than a span's length, is yet so powerful, says 
Namadeva. It prevents us from treading in the way of the 
saints. The belly is our mother ; the belly our father ; 
the belly our sister and brother. Namadeva looks at his belly 
and asks how long it is going to have sway over him (Abg. 
87). Wcjshould always think of death* says Namadeva, in 
whatever pursuit we might be engaged. As when a thief is 
being carried to the hanging place, death is approaching him 
at evey step ; as when a man is plying his axe at the root of 
a tree, its life is diminishing every moment ; similarly, what- 
ever we may be doing, we must suppose that death is always 
approaching us (Abg. 90). Moreover, Namadeva tells us 
that we should be supremely indifferent to dualities like good 
and evil. All objects of sense should be as indifferent to us, 
as either a serpent or a beautiful maiden is to a man who has 
gone to sleep. We should regard dung and gold, or a jewel 
or a stone, as of equal value. Let the sky come and envelop 
us, or let cinders be poured on our head, we should not allow 
our life in Atman to be disturbed. You may praise us or 
censure us, says Namadeva, we shall always live in the joy 
of God (Abg. 01). People forget, says Namadeva, that their 
bodily miseries are due to the sins they have committed. 
Nobody should expect a sweet fruit when he sows a sour seed. 
From an Arka tree, plantains shall never come out. A pestle 
can never be bent to the form of an arrow. One may pound 
stones as he pleases, but never will any juice come out of it. 
We should not grow wroth with our fate, says Namadeva : 
we should ask ourselves what we have done (Abg. 92). Then, 
again, Namadeva tells^^s, that to pin our faith upon stoj|- 
images IsT a vain pursuit. A stone god and an illusory deygjfcfie 
can never satisfy each other, Such gods have.ieen broken to 


pieces by^the^Tw^ IB water, and yet 

tKey~3o_npt cry. Show me nob such deities of iron, says 
Niimadevgi . ,tp^ Qod (Abg. 94). Is it not wonderful, asks 
Namadeva, that people should give up the animate, and 
hold the inanimate as superior to it ? They pluck a living 
Tulsi plant, and with it worship an inanimate stone. They 
pluck the leaves of Bela, and throw them in numbers upon a 
liiigam of Siva. They kill a living ram, and say they are per- 
forming the Soma sacrifice. They besmear a stone with red 
lead, and children and women fall prostrate before it. The 
performance of an Agnihotra means death to the Kusa grass 
and the Pimpala sticks. People worship a serpent made of 
mud, but they take cudgels against a living serpent. All these 
pursuits are vain, says Namadeva : the only pursuit of value 
is the utterance of the Name of God (Abg. 95). Then, Nama- 
deva tells us that a beautiful woman is the cause of sorrow, 
and an ugly woman the cause of happiness ; for the one incites 
love, while the other does not (Abgs. 100, 101). Contact 
with other women, says Namadeva, is the sure cause of ruin. 
In that way did Havana die. In that way was Bhasmasura 
reduced to ashes. In that way the Moon became consump- 
tive. In that way, Indra had his body covered with a 
thousand holes (Abg. 102). Ft is only then, says Namadeva, 
that we may talk of dispassionateness, when we are not at- 
tacked by the arrows of a woman's eyes. It is only then, 
says Namadeva, that we may talk of Self-knowledge, when 
anger and love do not spring up within us. It is only 
then, says Namadeva, that we may talk of absence of egoism, 
when our self is not censured (Ahg. 103). Finally, Namadeva 
tells us how it is difficult to find the following pairs together : 
gold and fragrance, diamond and softness, a Yogin and purity ; 
a talking god, a moving wish-tree, and a milch-elephant ; a 
rich man with compassion, a tiger with mercy, and fire with 
coolness ; a beautiful woman who is chaste, a hearer who is 
attentive, and a preacher who knows ; a Kshatriya who is 
grave, a sandal tree covered with flowers, and a handsome 
man who is virtuous. Namadeva tells us that it is impossible 
to find such pairs in life (Abg. 106). 

4. The characteristics of the Saints, says Namadeva, are 

manifold. Him alone we may call a 

The Characteristics saint, says Namadeva, who sees God in all 

of Saints. beings ; who looks upon gold as a clod 

of earth ; who looks upon a jewel as 
a mere stone ; who has driven out of his heart anger and 
passion ; who harbours peace and forgiveness in his mind ; 


whose speech is given merely to the utterance of God's name 
(Abg. 108). As trees do not know honour and dishonour, as 
they are equal to those who worship them and those who cut 
them, similarly, the saints in their supreme courage look upon 
honour and dishonour alike (Abg. 109)'. That is the supreme 
Law of Saint-hood, says Namadeva, which regards as neces- 
sary a perfect belief in the efficacy of God's name, and which 
requires us to eradicate all our other desires (Abg. 110). He 
alone, we may say, has reached ecstasy, who looks upon 
honour and dishonour alike. He alone is the beloved of God, 
who looks upon friend and enemy alike. He alone is the king 
of Yogins who looks upon gold and a portion of mud with 
equal eye. Such a one is a great purifying power, and 
makes all the three worlds pure by his presence (Abg. 111). 
The very gods worship the water of his feet. A mere remem- 
brance of him puts an end to all sin (Abg. 114). Namadeva 
tells us that a Saint is a spiritual washerman. He applies the 
soap of illumination, washes on the slab of tranquillity, puri- 
fies in the river of knowledge, and takes away the spots of 
sin (Abg. 115). Fie upon that place, says Namadeva, where 
there is no company of the saints. Fie upon that wealth and 
progeny, which is not given to the worship of the saints. Fie 
upon that thought and life, wherein there is no worship of 
God. Fie upon that song, and fie upon that learning, which 
is not given to the name of God. Fie upon that life which does 
not make God its sole aim (Abg. 120). There is one way, says 
Namadeva, to reach God, namely, that we should go and take 
resort with the saints ; for when we have worshipped the saints, 
we shall certainly see God. God always serves His saints, 
and holds aloft His yellow garment to protect His devotees 
from sun (Abg. 121 ). If we cling to the feet of the saints, says 
Namadeva, we shall be relieved of all suffering. If we serve 
at their door, we shall be relieved of all infatuation. If we 
partake of their " prasada ", our life-span shall increase. The 
saints are an ocean of mercy, says Namadeva, and they bestow 
upon us knowledge, devotion, and love (Abg, 122). Those who 
have seen God, says Namadeva, lose all sense of false shame. 
For them exist no duties of caste and colour. I hey are for- 
ever filled with the joy of unitive life. We should ask of only 
one favour from God ; namely, that we should be the pollen on 
the feet of such saints (Abg. 124). He alone is a Saint, says 
Namadeva, who is able to show God. How fortunate am I, 
he exclaims, that I have been able to see Him in the company 
of such Saints (Abg. 125) ! Without the favour of these Saints, 
the secret of spiritual life does not reach our hands. The names 


of God are various ; but unless the saints confer favour upon 
us, we shall not know how to meditate on the name of God 
(Abg. 127). We can take hold of a ray of light and walk 
thereon to heaven ; but we cannot know the full significance 
of the company of the saints. We can go to the nether world 
and cross the highest ocean ; but we cannot know the value of 
the company of the saints (Abg. 128). A Ohataka bird shall 
not ask for all kinds of water ; the waters on the surface of the 
earth have no value for it. A Cuckoo shall not sing at all times ; 
it will sing only when the spring sets in. A Peacock shall 
not dance before anybody and everybody ; it is only when 
the rain-cloud is rumbling, that it will begin to dance. The 
Eagle can say that it shall serve nobody except God ; similar- 
ly, Namadeva implores God not to make him dependent upon 
anybody except Him (Abg. 130). Finally, says Namadeva, 
there have been various types of men who have played the 
game of spiritual life. Is it not wonderful that where there was 
nothing, the form of God began to take shape ? That which 
was formless in a while became f ormful. One Brahmin child ran 
away from the game to hide itself for twelve years in a forest. A 
six-faced boy took shelter in a mountain. A four-faced youth 
called Narayana was a stalwart player. Hanuman was a wise 
man among these stalwart players, for he did not give himself 
up to the life of sex. One Gopala, born in the family of the 
Yadavas, played his game in manifold ways : ultimately he kill- 
ed all, threw away the sport, and himself went away. Myriads 
of such players have there been, says Namadeva (Abg. 134) ; 
but we should play the game which would suit us best. 
5. Namadeva supposes that the faculty of God-realisation 

is a God-given gift. A cow gives birth to 

The Spiritual Ex- a calf in a forest : who sends the calf, 

perience of Namadeva. asks Namadeva, to the udders of the cow ? 

Who teaches the young one of a ser- 
pent the art of biting ? A Mogara flower stands of itself at 
the top of the creeper : who teaches it to be fragrant ? Even 
if we manure a bitter gourd-creeper with sugar and milk, it 
makes the fruits of the gourd more bitter still. A sugar-cane 
shall never leave its sweetness, if it is cut to pieces, or even 
if it is swallowed. Similarly, says Namadeva, the faculty of 
f realising God is a native faculty, and by that alone will one 
be able to realise God (Abg. 135). When we have once seen 
God, it matters little to what place we go. As soon as we 
remember God, God shall be near us (Abg. 137). We shall 
forget our hunger and thirst in the plea&ure of God's Name. 
God, who is the source of immortality, is iu the heart of 


Namadeva, and Namadeva therefore enjoys continued 
beatification (Abg. 139). There is only one favour that we 
should ask of God : that we should always think of Him in 
our heart ; that we should always utter His name by our 
mouth ; that we should always see Him with our eyes ; that 
our hands should worship only Him ; that our head be placed 
always at His feet ; that our ears should only hear of God's 
exploits ; that He should show Himself always to our right 
and to our left, before and after, and at the end of our life. 
We should ask God of no other favour except this (Abg. 140). 
As Namadeva began to see God, he found Him in all corners, and 
in all directions (Abg. 141 ). God's form can be seen even by a 
blind man, and a dumb man can communicate even in a deaf 
man's ears the knowledge of God. An ant shall devour the 
whole universe by its mouth, says Namadeva. Only we 
shall have to verify all these things in our own experience 
(Abg. 142). When the Unstruck Sound springs out of the 
thousand-petal! ed lotus and when God's name is uttered, sins 
shall depart and hide themselves in a cavern. Keep yourself 
awake in the meditation on God. Your sins will depart at the 
utterance of God's name, and God will give you a secure lodg- 
ment in His abode (Abg. 143). In another place, also, Nama- 
deva speaks of sins being destroyed by God's name. A single 
utterance of the name of God creates panic among sins. 
As soon as God's name is uttered, the divine recorder ceases 
to record. God Himself comes forth to receive His devotee 
with materials of worship. If this were to turn out false, 
says Namadeva, then may his head be cut off from his body 
(Abg. 144). Indeed, Namadeva tells us how God is filled with 
happiness at the singing of His praise. As we sit down and 
sing the praise of God, God stands before us. As in devotion 
we stand up and call on the name of God, God dances before 
us. God indeed loves his Kirtaim so much that He forth- 
with comes to the succour of His devotees in the midst of 
difficulties (Abg. 145). We have experienced joy, says Nama- 
deva, a thousand-fold of what we have witnessed in the Divali 
holidays. r l here has been a waving of lights in every house, 
and we have seen God Vitthala with our eyes. His presence 
has filled us with joy. Utter now the name of God. As the 
Lord of Namadeva came, the very gods were filled with 
delight (Abg. 146). Namadeva in one place describes his 
experience when he saw God. Light as brilliant as that of 
a thousand Suns shone forth at once from the heavens. The 
saints told Namadeva that God was coming. God indeed 
did come to Namadeva as a cow goes to its calf. All the ten 


quarters were filled by the inroads of the Eagle. A garland 
of flowers was released from the neck of God, and came to 
the earth. God's disc moved with Him in order to protect 
His devotee. God lifted up Namadeva with both of His hands, 
and clasped him to His bosom (Abg. 147). He alone, says 
Namadeva, can be awake who has a determined faith in the 
words of his teacher. What lamp can we light in order to see 
our Self ? He, who gives light to the sun and the moon, cannot 
Himself be seen by any other light. There is neither east nor 
west in Him ; neither north nor south. As an ocean at the time 
of the Great End might fill the universe, similarly, God fills the 
universe for one who has experienced Him (Abg. 148). And 
as such a one goes to the sleep of ecstasy, the twelve and sixteen 
damsels wave the fans before him. The devotee keeps awake 
in Self -illumination. Trumpets sound forth. Untold varieties 
of unstruck sound emerge. r lhere is then neither sleep nor 
dream. The very Sun and the Moon set before that Illumi- 
nation (Abg. 149). It is only God who can know the love 
of His devotee in this manner. He always does reside with 
His devotee. Namadeva tells us that he was so filled with 
God-experience, that he thought that he was God, and that 
God was himself (Abg. 150). 

6. Gora, the potter, who tested the spirituality of the 
Saints at the time of Jnanadeva and 
The Teachings of Gora. Namadeva, found, it is well known, that 
Namadeva was an unbaked pot. But 
when Namadeva came to know the real 
secret of spiritual life, Gora Kumbhara was satisfied, and 
told him that thenceforth there was no distinction between 
him and Namadeva. He told Namadeva that his own Form 
had been fixed in his eye, and that all his realisation was cen- 
tred in the pupil of his eyes (Abg. 1). Gora also tells us that as 
he began to look at the sky, he felt as if happiness had gone to 
meet happiness (Abg. 2). He tells us furthermore that he 
heard the unstruck sound, and that it was proclaiming the 
voice of victory. The very Yedas describe the nature of God 
as neither this nor that, and stand motionless before this per- 
petual sound. Gora, the potter, advises Namadeva to con- 
tinually partake of this ambrosial juice of ecstasy (Abg. 3). 
The Potter also tells us that in the contemplation of God, he 
felt as if he had gone mad. He tells us how he had lost all 
sense of body. By the primeval form of God having taken 
possession of him, he felt as if he was possessed by a spirit. 
Henceforth, it was impossible for him to be besmeared with 
the mud of action, or even with virtue or sin. He lived, he 


tells us, as one who was emancipated even during life a 
Jivanmukta (Abg. 4). We also know from Gora that his mind 
became mute, and that the bliss of experience transcended 
all bounds. The eyes, unable to see their object, turned upon 
themselves, and remained motionless. Gora tells us that 
one can enjoy the bliss of experience only in mystic silence 
(Abg. 5). Just as a dumb man cannot express the sweetness 
of the sugar he is eating, similarly, by our bliss we enjoy bliss, 
and in that way attain to emancipation even during life. 
Finally, he warns us not to let the world know of this state. 
They do not deserve, says Gora, to be taught the secret of 
spiritual life (Abg. 6). 

7. Visoba, the teacher of Namadeva, tells Namadeva, 

that if he boasts that he has seen God, 

The Teachings of it is merely false knowledge. Tt would 

Viaoba. not be possible for any one to meet God 

until one's egoism is at an 'end (Abg. 1). 
Our bliss is with ourselves ; it does not lie in any external 
object. If we possess merely discrimination and dispassion, 
the way is open for us to know God (Abg. 2). By the 
contemplation of God, mountains of sins shall be reduced 
to ashes. By the contemplation of God, the evils of Sam- 
sara shall come to an end. Visoba advises Namadeva that 
he should consider himself fortunate if he obtains the clue to 
this spiritual pathway (Abg. 8). Finally, we learn from 
Khechara that for him all land and water, all stones and 
trees, beings from the very ant to the highest Being, seemed 
to have been filled with God. The whole world is God, says 
Khechara to Namadeva. He uttered these words in Nama- 
deva's ears, placed his hand upon the head of Namadeva, 
relieved him from the duality of existence, and brought him 
to oneness with himself. Visoba, who was mad with joy, 
tells us how it was from Jnanadeva that he had himself re- 
ceived spiritual illumination, and how he communicated the 
secret of his spiritual life to Namadeva (Abg. 4). 

8. Samvata, the gardener, was so filled with the presence 

of God that he found Him all-pervading 

The Teaching* of / in the garden where he was working 

Samvata. ^ all his life. Garlic, Chilly, and Onion 

are all my God. Ihe water-bag, the 

rope, and the well are all enveloped by my God. Samvata 

is cultivating a garden and has placed his head on the feet of 

Vitthala. The one supplication that he makes to God is that 

He should relieve him of Samsara. The only thing he asks 

of God, says Samvata, is that He should bereave him of all his 


progeny (Abg. 1). Very well it was, that I was born in a low 
caste, and very well it is that I have not attained to greatness. 
Had I been born a Brahmar a, T would have given myself over 
to rituals and ceremonies. Placed as I am, I have neither 
ablutions to make, nor Sandhya to perform. Born in a low 
caste, I can only ask for Thy compassion, says Samvata (Abg. 
2). Samvata furthermore tells us that we should behave alike 
in pleasure and sorrow. One day we may ride an elephant, 
or move through a palanquin ; another, we may walk bare- 
footed. One day there may be no corn at home to live upon ; 
another, wealth may be so plentiful that one may not know 
where to preserve it. One day the God of Death may come 
and we may go to the cemetery ; another, our spiritual teacher 
might take compassion on us, and the Father of Samvata may 
show Himself to him (Abg. 4). Samvata also tells us as to how 
his eyes had once been full-blown, and his hands out-stretched, 
and how his heart was full of humility. At that time, Jfiana- 
deva and Namadeva were passing by his garden. But God 
went inside the garden, placed His hand upon the head of 
Samvata, brought him to his senses, and with His four hands 
embraced him. At that time, SamvatH requested God to sit by 
him, so that he might worship Him (Abg. 5). Finally, he has as 
much belief in the efficacy of the Name as the other Saints. 
He tells us that by the power of God's name, one may bid 
good-bye to all feeling of fear, and deal a blow on the head of 
Death. By the power of God's name, one can bring God from 
heaven to earth, and sing and dance in His praise. Samvata 
thus implores all people to follow the path of Bhakti : for God 
is surely attained by Bhakti, says Samvata (Abg. 6). 

9. Narahari, the goldsmith, is so convinced about the 

unreality of the world that he regards 

The Teachings of it as merely a picture drawn upon a wall. 

Narahari. As children build houses of stone and 

then throw them down, similarly, do 
people engage themselves in worldly life, and then take leave 
of it (Abg. 1). He tells us that his waywardness was control- 
led only by his Guru. As an elephant may be controlled by 
an Anku6a, as a terrible tiger may be pent up within a cage 
as the poison of a serpent can be controlled by means of a 
Mantra or the root of a tree, similarly, Narahari was brought 
under control by Gaibinatha (Abg. 2). The unstruck sound 
is forever sounding in my ears, and my mind has been capti- 
vated by it. By means of the unstruck sound, think always 
upon God, and meditate upon Him in your heart. That 
will endow you with true love of God, and show you His 


pathway, as it did Narahari (Abg. 4). Finally, we learn from 
Narahari how he carried on his business of a goldsmith even in 
his spiritual life. Narahari calls himself a goldsmith who deals 
in the name of Cod. He makes his body the melting vessel 
of the soul, which is the gold therein. In the matrix of the 
three Gun as, he pours the juice of Cod. Hammer in hand, he 
breaks to pieces anger and passion. With the scissors of 
discrimination, he cuts away the golden leaf of the name of 
God. With the balance of illumination, he weighs the name 
of God. He bears the sack of gold on his shoulders, and carries 
it to the other end of the stream. Narahari, the goldsmith, 
who is a devotee of God, gives himself night arid day to the 
contemplation of God's name (Abg. 5). 

10. Chokha, the untouchable, tells God that people say to 
him, "get away, get away". How, then, 

The Teachings of would it be possible for him to meet 
Chokha. Him (Abg. 1) ? He implores God to have 

compassion on him, and to come to him 
at no slow pace. The worshippers of the temple beat me 
for no faiilt of mine. They asked me how it was that I came 
by the garland on the bosom of the Deity. They abused me 
and said, that 1 had polluted God. I am verily a dog at Thy 
door, says Chokha ; send me not away to another man's door 
(Abg. 2). Chokha is convinced that the real Pandhari is his 
own body, that his soul is the deity Vitthala therein. Tran- 
quillity plays the part of Kukmiiu, says Chokha. Contem- 
plating God in this fashion, he says, he clings to the feet of 
God (Abg. 3). He tells us that a sugar-cane may be crooked, 
and yet its juice is not crooked. A bow may be curved, and yet 
the arrow is not curved. A river may have windings, and yet 
the water has no windings. Chokha may be untouchable, but 
his heart is not untouchable (Abg. 4). He tells us, further- 
more, that if God were to endow him with a son, he should 
endow him with one who would become a saint. TE God were 
to endow him with a daughter, she should be like either Mir aba! 
or Muktabai. If it would not please God to give him offspring 
in this manner, it would be much better that He should take 
all offspring from him (Abg. 5). Chokha tells us that while 
we are engaged in the Name of God, we need have no cause for 
fear, or anxiety. The most wicked persons on the earth should 
come to this place to get themselves purified, says Chokha, 
and sounds his drum (Abg. 0). Chokha and his wife were 
sure of the presence of God within their house. Chokha tells 
us that God had come to his house to partake of dinner 
with him. He spreads before Him various kinds of sweet 


dishes, and requests Him to take His meals with him (Abg. 7). 
The wife of Chokha tells God that even though the food that 
she gives Him is not worthy of Him,- yet He may be gracious 
enougli to partake of it to His heart's content. She asks 
God whether He did not partake of the fluid rice in the house 
of Vidura, and whether He was not satisfied with merely 
a leaf of the vegetable which Draupadi had given Him. 
Similarly, she implores Him to take His meals with them 
(Abg. 8). 

11. Janabai' s place among the spiritual poetesses of 
Maharashtra is just next to that of 

The Teachings ol Muktabai. As Muktabai derived her 
Janabai. poetic inspiration from Jiianadeva, simi- 

larly, Janabai derived hers from Nama- 
deva. She tells us that as a fly in the vanity of pleasure falls 
upon the flame of a lamp, similarly, people in this life fall upon 
sensual pleasures in order to kill themselves. In this life, we 
should live as if we were the shadows of our body (Abg. 2). 
We should surpass the earth in forgiveness, be milder than 
butter, and lighter than a flower (Abg. 3). The weapon 
of a warrior, the treasure of a miser, the pearl on the temples 
of an elephant, the hood of a serpent, the nails of a lion, the 
breasts of a chaste woman, these shall never come to our hands. 
Similarly, unless we take leave of all egoism. God shall not 
come to our hands (Abg. 4). The only source of happiness in 
this life is betaking oneself to the Spiritual Teacher. We 
should hand him over all our wealth and body and mind, and 
take from him in exchange the form of God. This will not 
come to our vision without the grace of the Spiritual Teacher, 
ft is already inside us ; but we do not know that this is so. 
We wave a rosary of beads, and mutter numbers of prayers ; 
but He who makes us wave the rosary, and inspires us with 
the saying of prayers, Him we do not know even though He 
is inside our hearts. He alone is the Spiritual Teacher, says 
Janabai, who can show the Atman directly to our vision 
(Abg. 5). Bhakti is indeed like a pit of cinders, or like a deep 
place in a river which is hard to approach. It is like a morsel 
of poison, or like the sharp edge of a sword. To be a real 
Bhakta, says Janabai, is as difficult as any of the above 
things (Abg. C). As a bird may go to roam in the sky and still 
think of its young one, or as a mother may be engaged in the 
house-hold duties and yet may think of her child, or as a 
she-monkey may leap from tree to tree and yet may clasp its 
young one to her bosom, similarly, says Janabai, we should 
always think of Vitthala. Occasionally, she grows wroth 


with Vitthala, and even goes to the length of abusing Him. 
Vithya, Vithya, Thou art the spoilt child of the Primeval 
Maya. Thy wife has become a courtesan. Thy body is 
dead. Janabai stands in the court-yard of her house, and 
abuses Thee right and left (Abg. 10). It is only when we 
pen Vitthala within the prison of our heart, enchain Him with 
the power of the Name, beat Him with the lash of Self -identity, 
that Vitthala will cry piteously, and ask to be discharged 
for life (Abg. II). Occasionally, Janabal tells us that it was 
on account of the company of Namadeva that she was able to 
know Vitthala. As in the company of the bride-groom, 
people get dishes of all kinds, similarly, in the company of 
Namadeva, Janabal has earned God (Abg. 12). First, there 
is a red circle, says Jariabai, above which there is a white 
one, beyond that is a dark-blue circle, and finally there is a 
full blue circle. Janabal is greatly struck, she tells us, by 
hearing the unstruck sound (Abg. 13). She is entirely unable 
to describe the great flame of light which shines before her 
(Abg. 14). As she looks at God, she sees Him to her right 
and left, above and below, and in all quarters (Abg. 16). The 
form of God came upon Janabai like a flood, by looking at which, 
Janabal unconsciously shut her eyes (Abg. 17). Her weari- 
ness departed, her sin and torment were at an end. Where 
there is the Name of God, there can happen no calamity (Abg. 
18). Janabai tells us that a great miracle took place in the 
company of her Guru. The camphor was burnt, and no 
soot came out of it ; the sugar was sown, and the sugar-cane 
was taken out ; the ear became the eye ; an old woman was 
married to a child husband. This was the great wonder, 
she says, which she saw with her eyes, and which she could 
not explain (Abg. 20). Whatever desires she had harboured 
in her heart were fulfilled by God. He finally gave her a 
place in His own abode (Abg. 21). As the form of God be- 
came firmly fixed in Janabafs mind, her bodily condition 
changed. Passion and attachment took leave of her. As 
Janabai began to see, she saw that God Vitthala was standing 
at her door (Abg. 22). She tells us that she ate God, and 
drank God ; that she slept on God ; that she gave God and 
took God ; that God was here, and God was there ; that 
there was no place which was not filled by God, either inside 
or outside (Abg. 23). As she began to sweep the floor of 
Namadeva's house, God came and took the refuse in a basket. 
He became so infatuated, that He began to do even mean 
work for her (Abg. 25). As God danced on mud with the 
potter Gora ? as He talked with Kabxra while the latter was 


weaving cloth, as He drove away the cows and buffaloes 
of the untouchable Chokha, similarly, He now began to grind 
in the company of Janabai, seeing which, she tells us, even 
the gods were pleased (Abg. 26). He who is befriended by 
God, becomes an object of favour for the whole world. God 
sees that such a devotee lacks nothing, and He takes on 
Himself the duty of protecting him in calamities. He does 
not stay away from His devotee even for a single moment, 
and on critical occasions, invariably lends His helping hand 
(Abg. 30). 

12. Sena, the barber, has no compromise with the evil- 
doers. He tells us that we should by all 

The Teachings of means dishonour the wicked, deal kicks 'to 
Sena. them, and drive them away. He who 

lives in the company of wicked men, says 
Sena, lives in perdition (Abg. 1). Like other saints, he also 
believes in the great efficacy of the Name. One does not re- 
quire to inhale smoke, or to sit in the midst of the five fires. 
One has merely to make his mind calm, and with a concen- 
trated attention sing the praises of God (Abg. 2). There is 
no other remedy except this, says Sena. God will surely 
come, and relieve His devotee. He makes no consideration 
of caste or quality. He runs at once to the cause of those 
who love Him (Abg. 3). One need not go to mountains and 
forests. If one goes to the forest, he would be deceived, as 
Vibhandaka was deceived by a damsel. Knowing this, Sena 
sat where he was, and sent his submission to God (Abg. 4). He 
implores God to relieve him of his sins. T am a great evil- 
doer, says Sena, i have harboured passion and anger ; I 
have not cared for the company of the good ; nor have I 
meditated on God. I have censured those who have believed 
in God. I have entertained passion for wealth. Sena is a 
statue of sin incarnate, and bends in submission before God 
(Abg. 5). Blessed am I, he tells us, that I have seen Thy 
feet. All my- previous merit has borne its fruit (Abg. 7). 
To-day is a day of gold, says Sena, that he has seen the 
Saints (Abg. 9). The child of the powerful is itself powerful. 
All our sins will be forgiven us by our Father. Sena sits 
under the shade of the wish-tree, and bears compassion to- 
wards all (Abg. 10). Sena describes how he was given to 
the art of shaving even in spiritual life. We are greatly 
skilled in the art of shaving, says Sena. We show the mirror 
of discrimination, and use the pinches of dispassion. We 
apply the water of tranquillity to the head, and screw out 
the hair of egotism. We take away the nails of passion, and 


are a support to all the four castes, says Sena (Abg. 11). In 
two of his Abhangas, Sena informs us that he departed from 
this life at midday on the 12th of the dark half of Sravana 
(Abgs. 12, 13). 

13. Kanhopatra, the beautiful daughter of a dancing wo- 
man of Mangalavedha, tells us that it is 
The Teachings of bad pursuit to follow the path of sen- 
Kanhopatra. sua l pleasure. Indra's body became verily 

perforated ; Bhasmasura was reduced to 
ashes ; the Moon bears the sinful spots on her body ; Havana 
lost his life, because he gave himself to carnal pleasure 
'(Abg. 1). I am verily an outcast, says Kanhopatra. I do 
not know the rules of conduct. I only know how to ap- 
proach Thee in submission (Abg: 2). Thou callest Thyself 
the reliever of the fallen. Why dost Thou not lift me up ? 
I have once called myself Thine. If I am now obliged to 
call myself another's, on whom would the blame rest ? If a 
jackal were to take away the food of a lion, who would be 
blamed, asks Kanhopatra (Abg. 3) ? This Abhanga she pro- 
bably composed when she was invited by the Mahomedan 
king of Bedar to visit his court. When she saw the image 
of Vitthala, she says, it seemed as if her spiritual merit had 
reached its consummation. Happy am I, she says, that I have 
seen Thy feet (Abg. 4). The very God of Death would be 
terrified if we utter the Name of God. Ajamela, Valmiki, and 
even a Courtesan have been lifted up by the Name of God. 
Kanhopatra tells us that she wears the garland of God's 
Names (Abg. 5). 

General Review. 

There are certain characteristics which mark off the saints 
of this period from the saints who belong either to the earlier 
or the later period in the development of Maharashtra Mysti- 
cism. In the first place, these mystics are cosmopolitans. 
They recognise a spiritual dwiocracy alL round. Prof. W. B. 
Patwardhan has well described the democracy of the Bhakti 
scliooTTas represented in Namadeva and his contemporaries : 
"The gates of the Bhakti school were ever open. Whoever 
entered was hailed as a brother nay more -was honoured 
as a saint. He was addressed as a 'Santa'. All were 'Santas' 
that gathered round and under the Garudataka, the flag with 
the eagle blazoned on it, with Tala or cymbals in hand, and the 
name of Vitthala on the tongue. 1 he very atmosphere was 
sacred and holy. The breath of Heaven played freely, and 
all were equal there. Love true genuine- pure love ad- 
mits not of high and low, rich and poor ; all is one and equal. 
All separatist tendencies vanished ; the haughty isolation of 
Pride, of Heredity, of Tradition melted away, and all were 
but men, human, weak:, frail, feeble, lame, and blind, calling 
on the same strength, seeking the same love, hoping the same 
hope, dreaming the same dream, and seeing the same vision. 
Before Vithoba or Dattatreya, or Naganatha call him by 
any name all were equal. Age and sex, caste and class, 
breathed not in this equalising air. In the joy of Love, in the 
bliss of the service of the Lord, in the dance round the Flag 
of devotion all were inspired with the same lire ; they ate 
of the same dish, drank of the same well, bathed in the same 
Chandrabhaga or Krishna or Goda or Banaganga, lay on the 
same sands, and waked to the same dawn. For five successive 
centuries, Maharashtra was the abode of that noblest and truest 
of all Democracies, the Democracy of the Bhakti school." 
In the second place, all these saints are characterised by a con- 
trition of the heart, by the helplessness of human endeavour 
to reach unaided the majesty of God, by a sense of sinfulness 
inherent to human nature, by the necessity of finding out a 
Guru who may relieve them from the sufferings of the world, 
and finally, by the phenomena of conversion almost in every 
individual case. I^ach saint indeed has an individuality of 
his own even in his spiritual development. In the third place, 
it seems as if the mystics of this period show an all-absorbing 

14 T 


love of God, which would riot allow a rightful performance 
of one's duties before God-absorption. It is true that these 
saints show thatjGo^jcould be realised, in any walk^. Jjfe ; 
but they also show that God is a very jealous God, who would 
not allow any love to be given to any other object beside Him- 
self. The tailor, the barber, the maid-servant, the gardener, 
. the sweeper, the potter, the goldsmith, even the nautch-girl, 
could all realise God in their different stations of life. But as 
to whether they could continue in a rightful performance of 
their duties in the state of God-realisation is a different question. 
It seems that these saints gave themselves up to God-love, 
and forgot everything else before it. The conflict between a 
rightful performance of duty and an all-absorbing love of 
God has existed at all times and in all countries. But it 
seems that the saints of this period inclined the beam in the 
latter rather than in the former direction, and exhibited the 
all-absorbing character of God-realisation. God indeed is an 
all-devourer, and it seems from the example of these saints 
that He devours also the performance of one's own natural 
duties. The saints of the age we shall consider in our 
next section show rather the opposite tendency, namely, 
the tendency of making compatible the love of God and the 
rightful performance of Duty. Janardana Swam! was a saint, 
while he was yet a fighter. Ekanatha was a saint, while he 
was yet a householder. We shall see as we proceed to con- 
sider the lives and teachings of these saints in the next part 
of this work how this conflict is resolved in a synthetic 
performance of Duty in the midst of God-realisation. 

The Age of Ekanatha : Synthetic Mysticism. 


Biographical Introduction : Bhanudasa, Janardana 
Swami and Kkanatha. 

1. Bhanudasa, the great-grandfather of Kkanatha, was 
born at Paithana in 1448 A.D. (Sake 
Bhanudasa. 1370). His son was Chakrapani. Chakra- 

pani's son was Suryanarayana, and 
Suryanarayana's son was Ekanatha. Bhanudasa was a 
Desastha Brahmin, and was probably a contemporary of the 
saint Damajipant. This latter saint must have lived either 
about 1458 A.D. (Sake 1380), or about 14(18 A.D. to 1475 A.D. 
(Sake 1390 to 1397), the two dates of the dire famine in the 
Deccan. Bhanudasa himself must have experienced this 
famine. When he was about ten years of age, Bhanudasa 
was rebuked by his father for mischievous conduct. He, 
therefore, went to a desolate temple outside Paithana, re- 
mained there for seven days, and worshipped the God Sun, 
for which he was called Bhanu-dasa. Bhanudasa is reported 
to have brought back the image of Vitthala from Hampi, 
where Knshnaraya had taken it. The Abhanga which Bhanu- 
dasa composed at this critical moment of his life at Vijaya- 
nugar might well be taken as a motto of God-love by all 
Saints :-- 

From the temple of Vijayavitthala at Hampi whose remains 
could be seen even to-day, we do not know definitely whether 
Krishnaraya had actually taken the image of Vitthala to that 
place, or whether he had merely erected a building where 
he might later carry the image from Paridharapiir and establish 
it finally. At present the temple of Vijayavitthala presents 
a desolate, though an architectural, appearance. It is a good 
temple without any image inside it, though it is known by the 
name of "Vijayavitthala" temple. It is not unlikely, that, as 
Paridharapur must have sutlered from the ravages of the 
Mahomedans, the image of Vithoba of Pandharapfir was in 
danger of being ill-handled by the invaders, and hence a 
Hindu king like Knshnaraya, the king of Vijayanagar, might 
have thought it fit to take away the image from a zone of dan- 
ger to a place where it might be safely lodged ; and it is not 


unlikely, again, that he might have handed the image back to 
a Saint like Bhanudasa, when there was no longer any danger 
of its being ill-handled by the Mahomedans. In any case, it 
seems that the bringing back of the idol, from Vijayanagar 
to Pandharapur was the great achievement of the life of 
Bhanudasa. With Bhanudasa and his successors, the third 
epoch of the development of the Sampradaya of Paridhara- 
pur began. The first was evidently that of Jnanadeva ; the 
second of Narnadeva and his contemporary saints ; the third 
of Bhanudasa and his successors, Janardana Swami, and Eka- 
natha. Bhanudasa is reported to have entered Samadhi in 
1513 A.D. (Sake 1435). 

2. Janardana Swami, the teacher of Ekanatha, was born 

in 1504 A.D. (Sake 1426) at Chalisgaon. 
Janardana Swami. He was a Desastha Brahmin by birth. 

He tells us how he led an immoral life at 
the beginning, and how he was later converted from that life 
to a spiritual life by the grace of Nnsiniha-sarasvatl whom he 
met under the Audumbara tree at Ankalakop on the river of 
Krishrra. This place could be met with even to-day in the 
Satara District. Nrisimhasarasvati was a very great saint. 
The three sacred places which are known after him are 
Narasobavadi, Audumbara, and Ganagapur. When this 
Saint was at Ankalakop, Janardanaswami went to see him, 
and was initiated by him into the spiritual life. He was 
later appointed Lvilledara of Devagada by a Mahomcdan 
long. He was a statesman also. He devoted himself to the 
service of God, while he was doing his worldly duties. He 
was a type for Ekanatha Swami for a combination of worldly 
and spiritual life. He was respected by the Mahomedans 
and the Hindus alike, and every Thursday which was sacred 
to the God of Janardana Swami was proclaimed a holiday at 
Devagada by the order of the Mahomedan king. Janardana 
Swami died in 1575 A.D. (Sake 1497) at Devagada orDaulata- 
bad, where his Samadhi could be seen even to-day inside a 
cave on the hill. 

3. The dates of Ekanatha's birth vary. Messrs. Sahasra 

buddhe and Bhave took the date of 
Date of Ekanatha. Ekanatha's birth to be 1548 A.D. (Sake 

1470). Mr. Pangarakar in his earlier 
edition of his Life of Ekanatha, took it to be 1528 A.D. 
(Sake 1450), while in the second edition, he modified this 
to 1533 A.D. (Sake 1455), which Mr. Bhave later accepted. 
Similarly about the date of Ekanatha's passing away. 
It was long taken to be 1609 A.D. (Sake 1531), for example, 


by Mr. Sahasrabuddhe. But Mr. Pangarakar has shown 
it to be 1599 A.D. (Sake 1521). It thus seems that there 
is yet some difference of opinion about the exact dates 
of the birth and death of Ekanatha. On the whole, we may 
say that the period from 1533 A.D. toJ599 A.I). (Sake 1455 
tcr-WST^lftay 1 " be taken as the^Etost probable period of the 
life of Ekanatha. Ekanatha thus seems to have passed away 
aF~Ee age of sixty-six. 

4. Ekanatha was born at Paithana of Suryamlrayana and 
Rukminibai, both of whom unfortunately 

Ekanatha's Life. died while Ekanatha was yet a baby. 
Hence Ekanatha was brought- up by his 
grandfather and grandmother. He was of a very calm 
disposition, and was devoted to Cod from his very childhood. 
He had a very keen intellect, and was fond of reading stories 
and mythologies and the lives of the Saints. He was also 
given to meditate on the stories he had heard in a temple of 
Siva outside Paithana. Once upon a time, while he was only 
twelve, he heard a voice saying that there lived a saint called 
Janardanapant on Devagada, and that he should get himself 
initiated by him. Ekanatha thereupon went to Devagada 
of his own accord, without taking the permission of his guar- 
dians. r l he date of the first meeting of Ekanatha and Janar- 
dana Swami was formerly given by Mr. Pangarakar to be 
IS 40 A.D. (Sake 1462) ; but with a change in his date about 
Ekanatha's birth, he has also altered the date of Ekanatha's 
first meeting with his (Jura to 1545 A.J). (Sake 1407). In any 
case ? it seems that Ekanatha went to Janardana Swami while 
he was yet only twelve. He devoted himself to an absolutely 
disinterested service of his Spiritual Teacher. He studied the 
Jnanesvari, and the Amritanubhava with Janardana Swami. 
He was once asked by Janardana Swami to examine certain 
accounts, when he was very glad to find that his disciple 
had after a long vigil detected the error which he was seeking. 
Ekanatha was instructed by Janardana Swami to perform a 
like subtle meditation on God on a hill behind Devagada. 
Ekanatha lived with his spiritual teacher for six years, during 
which period Ekanatha attained to C5od- vision. While 
Janardana Swami was onc engaged in meditation, the enemy 
raided Devagada, but Ekanatha successfully warded off the 
attack by putting on the coat-of-mail of Janardana Swami. 
Later, Ekanatha was ordered by Janardana Swami to go on a 
pilgrimage, and after returning, to go to Paithana, meet his 
own grandfather and grandmother, marry, and live a house- 
holder's life while also leading a life of meditation. Ekanatha 


successfully did all these things. On his return from the pilgri- 
mage, he was married to a girl from Bijapur called (Jirijabai. 
Ekanatha's married life never stood in the way of his devo- 
tion. It is true that he tells us in his Chiraiijivapada that one 
should not sit among women, one should not look at women, 
one should not get himself shampooed by women, one should 
not speak with women, one should not allow the company of 
women in solitude (30- 31). But he also tells us that this 
rule applies to other women beside one's own wife. One 
should never give these a place in one's presence. One should 
never have anything to do with these, and even while one's 
own wife is concerned, one should call, and touch, and speak 
to her only as much as is necessary. But we should never 
allow our mind to be filled with the idea of even our own 
wife (33- 34). The rule of Kkanatha's life was the rule of 
moderation. His daily spiritual routine was regularly and 
strictly practised, lie rose up at the same hour, devoted 
himself to spiritual pursuits at the same hour, and went to 
rest at the same hour. After having got up before dawn and 
spent some time in spiritual meditation, he would go to the 
river to bathe in the waters, and after return devote himself 
to the reading of the Bhagavata and the Bhagavadgita ; then 
receive guests for his midday meals ; then in the afternoon 
deliver a discourse on the Bhagavata or the .Jnanesvari; 
spend his time in meditation in the evening ; then perform 
a Kirtana at night, and after that go to rest. This was the 
constant rule of his life, which he never allowed to break. 
His life was a manifestation as to how T a man of real Cod- 
realisation should live in worldly life. His patience, his tran- 
quillity, his angerlessness, his sense of equality all around 
were beyond description. His behaviour with a Mabomedan 
who spat on his body successively as he was returning from 
his river bath, his feeding of the untouchables on a Sraddha 
occasion, his giving the draught of the holy waters of the 
(iodava-ri which he was bringing to an ass, his purification and 
spiritual upliftment of a concubine, the reception which he gave 
to thieves when they broke into his house, his raising of an 
untouchable boy and carrying him to his mother, his calm and 
silent behaviour with his son Haripandit who was intoxicated 
with knowledge and who scarcely knew at first the value of 
spiritual life, are all indications of the way in which a man of 
perfect realisation should live in the world. While he was 
thus pursuing his spiritual life in the midst of worldly life, 
he once suffered from a throat-disease, as we have pointed 
out in our Jiianadeva chapter, and was told in his dream by 


Jnanadeva that the disease would disappear only when he 
had taken away the root of the Ajana tree which had encir- 
cled his neck in the Samadhi at Aland! ; whereupon Eka- 
natha tells us that he went to Aland!, took away the root 
as directed, and found an inspiration for the reform of the 
text of the Jfianesvari, which he successfully achieved in 1584 
A.I). (Sake 1506). Ekanatha has benefited the world as 
much by his own independent works as by his editing of the 
text of the Jfianesvari. Ekanatha took Samadhi at Paithana 
in J599 A.I). (Sake 1521) without allowing any break to occur 
in his daily spiritual routine, which was the greatest test of his 
constancy of purpose and the reality and value of spiritual life. 
5. Ekanatha' s literary work was great and voluminous. 

He has left behind a vast amount of 
Ekanatha's Works. spiritual literature. His commentary on 

the 1 Ith chapter of the Bhagavata is his 
most classical production. Next in order of merit is his 
Bhavartha IJamayaria whir,h, Ekanatha tells us, he was 
inspired to write. Ekanatha left it at the 44th chapter 
of the Yuddhakanda, and davaba, one of his disciples, later 
finished it. The Marriage of Kukmini is also another of 
Ekanatha's great works, showing the very pure love of Huk- 
mini for Krishna, and vine versa. The Abhaiigas of Eka- 
natha are also of established value, inasmuch as they consti- 
tute a peculiarly original contribution to spiritual life. Other 
works and commentaries are expositions ; butjn his Abhangas_ 
Ekanatha pours out his heart. There are a number of other 
minor works of Ekanatha, for example, his commentary on 
Chatuhsloki Bhagavata, Svatmasukha, and such others. In 
our exposition of Ekanatha, we shall concern ourselves espe- 
cially with two of his productions which are alone relevant 
for our purpose as giving us the philosophical and mystical 
teachings of Ekanatha, namely, the commentary on the Bhaga- 
vata, and his Abhangas. Other works are mainly expository, 
and do not contain the requisite philosophical or mystical 
interest ; so we concern ourselves with only those that are 
significant for our purpose. Ekanatha is a past master in 
depicting the emotional side of poetry. Prof. Patwjirdhan has 
given very acutely Ekanatha's descriptions of the various senti- 
ments in his Wilson Philosophical Lectures. For example, we 
can read in Palwar^Ean how Ekanatha describes the love senti- 
ment, or the heroic spirit, or pathos, or yet terror, and such other 
cognate emotions. Ekanatha is not merely a saint, but also 
a poet of a very high order, which fact has contributed in no 
small measure to his popularity as a great teacher of religion. 


The Abhangas of Bhanudasa, Janardana Swami 
and Ekanatha. 

1. Bhanudasa, the great-grandfather of Ekanatha, tells us 

that he knows of no other code of con- 
Thc Abhangas of duct and no other mode of thought than 
Bhanudasa. that of uttering the Name of God (Abg. L). 

He says that Pandharapur is a mine of 
rubies. Those, who come to this place may take howsoever 
much they like, yet the treasure remains the same as it was. 
God Vitthala himself is like a well-set ruby, says Bhanudasa 
(Abg. 2). When Bhanudasa was taken to the gallows, because 
he was reported to have stolen the necklace of Cod, he is said 
to have composed some very pathetic Abhangas. How long 
are you going to test my devotion, asks Bhanudasa '? My 
breath is choked in my throat. Torments of all kinds are 
befalling me, and my mind is submerged in grief. There seems 
to be no remedy to this situation, except to fall in submission 
before Thee. Fulfil my desires, says Bhanudasa, and endow 
me with real happiness (Abg. 5). Even if the sky were to fall 
over my head, if the world were to break into pieces, and if 
the universe were to be devoured by the sea-fire, 1 will still 
wait for Thee, says Bhanudasa. I believe in the efficacy of 
Thy name. Make me not dependent upon others. Even if 
the seven seas were to amalgamate, if the world was to sub- 
merge in the huge expanse, even if the five great elements 
were to be destroyed, I shall not leave Thy company. How- 
soever great the danger that may befall me, 1 shall never 
forsake Thy name, nor shall my determination move an inch. As 
a beloved is attached to her husband, so shall I be attached 
to Thee, says Bhanudasa (Abg. 6). When these Abhangas 
were composed, God is said to have showed himself to Bhanu- 
dasa in as miraculous a manner as a dry piece of wood were 
to put forth sprouts, and as God came to relieve Bhanudasa 
of his suffering, Bhanudasa tells us he fell at His feet in utter 
submission (Abg. 7). 

2. Janardana Swami, the spiritual teacher of Ekanatha, 

tells us that he was initiated into the 

The Abhangas of spiritual line by a Saint who lived at 

Janardana Swami. Ankalakop on the banks of the Krishna 

under an Auduinbara tree. He does not 

mention Nrisimha-sarasvati by name, but his description 


points to that Saint as being his Guru (Abg. 1,2). He sup- 
plicates his Guru, because he had led a life of sin. He re- 
garded his wife as the most beloved object of his love. He 
censured the Brahmins. He gave himself over to duties other 
than his own. Tfe took pleasure in doing deeds of demerit. 
Being grieved in life, and being tormented by different kinds 
of calamities, he came to Audumbara. He describes himself, 
as verily a mine of sins, and he tells us that he went to his 
Guru, and sat at the threshold of his door, in order that he might 
relieve him of his sins (Abg. 2). If Thou wert not to relieve 
me from my misery, where else should I go ? or whom else 
shall 1 worship ? Dost Thou hide Thyself, because my sins 
are too strong for Thee, or art Thou gone to sleep ? Thy very 
silence increases my grief, says Janardana (Abg. 3). Thou 
shouldst verily take pity on me. 1 did not know the way of 
spiritual illumination, and hence I wandered in various direc- 
tions. 1 have suffered immense grief. Thou art known to 
afford succour to the fallen. 1 have come in submission to 
Thee, with the desire that Thou mightest relieve me (Abg. 4). 
These Abhangas indicate the stage in which .Janardana was 
yet journeying as a spiritual pilgrim. When he reached his 
destination and became a full-fledged saint, and when later 
Kkanatha betook himself to him in order to receive spiritual 
illumination, from him, Janardana tells him not to care for this 
unreal world, but to follow the easy path of Pandhari (Abg. 7). 
There is no other remedy for spiritual knowledge than the 
utterance of God's name. What Pundallka achieved in his 
life-time, thou shouldst thyself achieve in thine (Abg. 8). 
Harbour no thought of otherness about other beings. Fall 
prostrate before the Saints, and give food to those who come 
to thee (Abg. 9). There is no greater merit than giving food 
to guests without consideration of caste or colour ; for, food 
indeed the Vedanta regards as God (Abg. 10). There is no 
use going to places of pilgrimage. If the mind becomes pure, 
God lives in our very house, and can be seen by the devotee 
wherever he may be (Abg. 12). Then Janardana proceeds to 
describe certain mystical experiences. Wheels within wheels 
appear to the vision, says Janardana, each as large as the sky. 
Therein seem to be set bunches of pearls. Light of the rubies, 
and lamps without wicks, appear before the vision, says Janar- 
dana (Abg. 13). In the first stage of ecstasy, there is a dense 
form like that of a serpent, and pearls and jewels shine of 
themselves (Abg. 14). First, one sees white foam, and then 
the clear moon-light. Fire-flies, stars, the moon, and the sun 
follow one another. The swan presents itself in a state of 


steady contemplation. One should see straight into its eye, and 
should never leave the ecstatic state. Then the lord of souls 
who is of an imperishable nature shines forth : one should in- 
deed regard him as the Self (Abg. 10). r l his, in fact, seems 
to be the essence of the spiritual experience which was com- 
municated by Janardana ttwami to Ekanatha. 

3. Kkanatha's love for his Spiritual Teacher is as great as 

that of Jnanesvara for Nivjitti. Kkana- 

Ekanatha on his tha has immortalised his teacher Janar- 

Spiritual Teacher. dana Swami by coupling his name with 

his own in every Abhanga which he has 

composed. Ekanatha tells us that he first prepared a seat for 
his teacher in his purified mind. r lhcn he burnt the incense 
of egoism at his feet, lighted the lamp of good emotions, 
and made over to him an offering of (ive Fran as (Abg. 12). 
Ekanatha felt greatly indebted to his teacher, because he 
had showed him a great miracle. He swallowed the egoism 
of his- disciple, and showed him the light within himself, which 
had neither any rising nor any setting (Abg. 4). As the mind 
of a chaste woman is always fixed on the feet of her husband, 
similarly, the devotee has his mind always set on God. Janar- 
dana, says Ekanatha, showed him the God within himself 
(Abg. fl). Is it not a matter of great wonder that he showed 
me the God in my heart without my being obliged to undergo 
any exertions for His attainment I The real secret of the grace 
of the Guru is that a man should thereby see the whole 
world as God. Whatever one sees with his eyes, or hears 
with his ears, or tastes with his tongue, should all be of 
the nature of God (Abg. 8). Finally, he extols the Spiritual 
Teacher by saying that God Himself serves him who regards 
his spiritual teacher as identical with God (Abg. 9). 

4. Ekanatha excels in composing Abhangas which have a 

didactic significance. Is it not wonder- 

Ekanatha's moral and ful, he asks, that the spiritual life, which 

spiritual instruction. is sweet in itself, appears sour to the man 

who has no belief in God (Abg. 10) ? 
Unless we repent, God's name shall not come to our 
lips. Repentance is the cause of ecstasy. Jf one sincerely 
repents, God is not far from him (Abg. 12). On the other 
hand, disbelief is the cause of many vices. It pro- 
duces egoism, and destroys the spiritual life. One may say that 
disbelief is the crown of all sins (Abg. 14). People, who vain- 
ly seek their identity with God, forge new kinds of chains for 
themselves. They free themselves from the chains of iron 
to put on themselves the chains of gold (Abg. 15). Some 


people miss the spiritual life in the arrogance of their know- 
ledge. Others abandon it because they cannot reach the goal. 
A few others always postpone their search, because they think 
they would give themselves over to the spiritual life some 
time later (Abg. 10). There are only two ways for the attain- 
ment of spiritual life : one is that we should not get ourselves 
contaminated with others' wealth ; the other is that we should 
not contaminate ourselves with others' women (Abg. 17). 
Seeking of wealth means losing of Paramartha (Abg- 18). 
Even musk loses its odour if it is put alongside of asafc&tida. 
Similarly, good men lose their virtue if they keep the com- 
pany of the wicked. Even if we were to feed the roots of the 
Nimba tree with the manure of sugar, it would not fail to pro- 
duce bitter fruits (Abg. 10). Ekanatha advises us not to leave 
away home and betake ourselves to a forest. Are there not 
'many pigs who live in a forest, he asks us I A man who be- 
takes himself to a forest is like an owl that hides itself before 
sun-rise (Abg. 20). We should not have the dispassion of a 
goat, or the ecstasy of a cock. We should by all means avoid 
the pranks of a monkey (Abg. 22). Seeking of wealth is one 
sure road to ruin. If we were to add to it the seeking of women, 
we do not know what may come to pass (Abg. 24). Kka- 
natha is a great believer in the value of his Vernacular,. Can 
we say that (Jod created the Sanskrit language, and that the 
Vernaculars "were created by thieves.? In whatever language 
we praise Cod, our praise is equally welcome to Him ; far 
Ood is Himself the creator of all languages (Abg. 27). 
Rkanatha discourses upon the power of Fate. Camphor, which 
is placed in a treasure, is destroyed by wind. A ship sinks 
in a great sea. Jiogues come and pass counterfeit coin into 
our hands. Armies of enemies fall upon us, and take away 
money from subterranean places. (Jranaries of corn are 
destroyed by water. Sheep and cows and buffaloes are all 
destroyed by disease. A treasure placed undergound is re- 
duced to ashes. Such, says Ekanatha, is the power of .Fate 
(Abg. 28). He also tells us that people are afraid at the very 
word "Death". They do not know that it is sure to overtake 
us some (Taylor other. The flower is dried up and the fruit 
comes in its place, and some time after even the fruit disap- 
pears. One goes before, another conies behind, and yet all pass 
into the hands of Death. Ihose who run away on hearing 
the name of Death are themselves placed some day on a 
funeral pile. The coffin-bearers, who regard a dead body as 
heavy, are themselves carried in a coffin to the cemetery some 
day. It is only those, who go in submission before CJod, says 


Ekanatha, that do not come within the clutches of Death (Abg. 
29). We should, therefore, live in life as mere pilgrims who 
come to a resort in the evening, and depart the next morn- 
ing. As children build houses in sport and throw them away, 
similarly should we reckon this life (Abg. 30). As birds alight 
in a court-yard and then flow away, even so we should pass 
through this life (Abg. 31). Ekanatha tells us principally 
to observe one rule in life : we should never follow what our 
mind dictates to us. What the mind regards as happiness 
comes ultimately to be experienced as unhappiness (Abg. 32). 
We should thus always 'keep our mind imprisoned at God's 
feet (Abg. 33). Finally, sexual passion, says Ekanatha, has 
ruined many, and it is only those who conquer it that are able 
to consummate their spiritual life. The god of love, you may 
say, is like a powerful ram, or like a great lion. He jostled 
with Sankara, sent fear into the heart of Indra, threw him- 
self against Narada, destroyed Havana, killed Duryodhana, 
caught into his meshes a great sage like Visvamitra. Only it 
was the sage Suka, who by the power of his meditation, caught 
hold of this ram, brought him, and imprisoned him at the 
feet of Janardana Swami, the spiritual teacher of Ekanatha 
(Abg. 35). 

5. Ekanatha defines Bhakti as the recognition of the divine 
nature of all beings. Remembrance of 

Bhakti and the Clod is likeness of God, forgetfulness of God 
Name of God. i g illusion of life (Abg. 36). To utter the 

name of God is alone Bhakti (Abg. 37). 
Amongst all evanescent things, God's name is alone imperish- 
able (Abg. 38). Tt fulfils all the desires of the mind (Abg. 39). 
He who has no devotion in his heart will regard the pursuit 
of God as a mere chimera. But he who gets spiritual ex- 
perience will have the greatest value for it (Abg. 40). People 
vainly busy themselves in wrangling, without seeing that 
the name of God leads to the form of God (Abg. 41). If a 
man does not feel happy at heart at the utterance of God's 
name, we must take it that he is a sinful man. Even if 
we put the manure of musk at the basin of onion, its strong 
smell cannot be conquered. A man, who has high fever, 
does not find even fresh milk sweet. A man who is bitten by 
a serpent regards even sugar as bitter. Similarly, a man 
immersed in worldly life has no belief in the efficacy of the 
Name (Abg. 42). The Name of God gives us divine happiness. 
It puts an end to all diseases of body and mind. It enables 
us to preserve equanimity (Abg. 44). God runs to the help of 
the devotee, if he devoutly remembers Him. He thus came 


to the succour of Draupadi when a host of Brahmins had come 
to ask for dinner. He succoured Arjuna and protected him 
from deadly arrows. He saved Prahlada on land and in 
water and in fire (Abg. 46). A man, who has no real devotion, 
even though learned, looks merely like a courtesan, who puts 
on different kinds of ornaments (Abg. 48). fihakti is 
the root, of which dispassion is the flower, and illumination 
the fruit (Abg. 49). In the devoted performance of a Kirtana, 
every time a new charm appears. The hearer and the speaker 
both become God. The devotees of God sound lustily the name 
of God. Even the sky cannot contain the joy of these Saints 
(Abg. 51). When a man devoutly performs the Kirtana of 
God, God shows Himself before him. Great is the happiness 
of a Kirtana when God stands in front of His own accord. He 
wards off all our calamities by taking a disc and a mace in his 
hands (Abg. 52). He who is impossible to attain by a life 
of Yoga, says Ekanatha, dances in a Kirtana (Abg. 53). 
Ekanatha's sole desire is that he should be spared long to 
perform the Kirtana of God (Abg. 54). A man who performs 
a Kirtana and begs for money will go to perdition (Abg. 55). 
We should sing and dance in joy, and ask nothing of anybody. 
We should eat, if we get a morsel of food. Otherwise, we 
should live on the leaves of trees. We should determine not 
to leave a Kirtana, even though the life may be passing away 
(Abg. 56). With great reverence, we should sing the acts 
of good men, and should bow to them with all our heart. In 
the company of the good, we should utter the name of God, 
and at the time of a Kirtana we should nod in joy beside God. 
We should never waste our breath ; and should talk only 
about devotion and knowledge. In great love, we should dis- 
cuss the various kinds of dispassion. Saints perform a Kirtana 
in such a manner that the form of God is thereby firmly set 
before the minds of men (Abg. 57). There have been various 
Saints who have performed various kinds of Bhakti. Parik- 
shit performed the devotion of the hearing of God's exploits. 
Suka performed the devotion of Kirtana. Prahlada gave 
himself over to the uttering of the Name of God. Rama 
did physical service of God. Akrura performed the devotion 
of prostration. Maruti gave himself over to the service of 
God. Arjuna led a life of friendliness with God. And the 
great Bali performed the devotion of utter self-sacrifice for 
the sake of God (Abg. 58). 

6. Ekanatha thinks that it is an extremely lucky event to 
meet with real saints. One may be able to know the past, 
the present and the future ; one may be able to stop the Sun 


from setting ; one may easily cross the ocean ; but it is 
difficult to meet a real Saint (Abg. 59). 
The Power of the He alone is a real Saint who does not 
Saints. allow his peace to be disturbed, even if 

his body is tormented by another ; or who 
does not shed tears of grief, even if his son is killed by enemies. 
He is not dejected, when all his wealth is taken away by thieves; 
and lie does -not become angry, even if his wife turns out un- 
chaste (Abg. 01). fie looks equally upon praise and censure 
(Abg. 60). He always sings the praises of God in the midst 
of difficulties. In poverty also, he remains equanimous (Abg. 
63). Those, on the other hand, are false Saints, who assume 
sainthood only in order to fill their belly. They besmear their 
body with ashes, and tell people that they are the source of 
happiness. They deceive and rob innocent people, ask others 
to make them their spiritual preceptors (Abg. 60), and have no 
objection to take all kinds of service from their disciples (Abg. 
67). Real saints are not like these counterfeit ones. God is 
at their beck and call, and Ekanatha implores them to show 
him the vision of God but once (Abg. 68). He regards it a 
matter of great joy, when the vSaints come to visit his house 
(Abg. 72). He feels he should not be separated from them 
even for a moment (Abg. 73). 'Fears of joy flow from his eyes 
when he comes in contact with these saints (Abg. 74). r l he 
Saints are really more generous than even a cloud. They 
fulfil all desires. They turn away the minds of men from 
empty and insignificant things, and make them worthy of 
themselves. They rescue them from the clutches of Death 
(Abg. 76). There is no saviour except Saints when a calamity 
befalls a man (Abg. 77) ; for the gods become weary of the 
evil-doers, but the Saints accept them also (Abg. 80). As 
the Sun's light cannot be hidden in the sky, similarly, the 
greatness of a Saint cannot be hidden in the world (Abg. 82). 
All the treasures of heaven reside with these saints (Abg. 83). 
How wonderful is it, asks Ekanatha, that by means of Bhakti 
a devotee can himself become God (Abg. 84) ? God forgets His 
divinity, and fulfils all the desires of his devotees (Abg. 87). 
If we place our burden on God, God shall certainly support us 
in the midst of difficulties (Abg. 89). He serves His devotees, 
as Krishna served Arjuna by being his charioteer (Abg. 90). 
God released Draupadi from calamities, and relieved Sudaman 
of his poverty ; protected Paiikshit in the womb ; ate of the 
morsels of cow-herds, and carried aloft the hill of Govardhana 
(Abg. 91) ; baked pots with Gora ; drove cattle with Chokha ; 
cut grass with Samvata ; wove garments with Kabira ; coloured 


hide with llohidasa ; sold meat with the butcher Sajana ; 
melted gold with Narahari ; carried cow-dung with Janabai ; 
and even became a Pariah messenger of Damaji (Abg. 92). 
Devotion indeed makes the devotee the elder, and God the 
younger. The devotee is even the father of God (Abg. 
95). God is impersonal, but the devotee is personal (Abg. 
96). (Joel and devotees are like the ocean and waves, like 
gold and ornaments, like flower and scent (Abg. 98). God 
even harbours the kick of his devotee on his breast (Abg. 100). 
Kansa hated Krishna, but honoured Narada, and so went to 
heaven (Abg. 101). God is indeed the body, of whom the 
Devotee is the soul (Abg. 105). It is a matter of shame to 
God that His devotee should look piteous in the eyes of men 
(Abg. 107). God regards ITis life as useless, if the words of the 
devotee come untrue (Abg. 108). The Saints indeed take on 
a body when the path of religion vanishes, and when irreligion 
reigns. By the power of God's name, the Saints come to the 
succour of the ignorant and the fallen. By the force of their 
devotion, they destroy heresy and all pseudo-religion (Abg. 

11] )- 

7. Kkanatha's mystical experience is of the highest order. 
He gives us all the physical and psychical 
The Mystical Ex- marks of God-realisation. There are eight 
perience of Ekanatha. such marks to be found in a state of God- 
realisation : the hair stand on end ; the 
body begins to perspire ; a shiver passes through the system ; 
tears flow from the eyes ; the heart is filled with joy ; the 
throat becomes choked ; there is a mystical epokhe ; and 
there are long inspirations and expirations (Abg. 114). 
Through the ear, Kkanatha tells us in mystical language, 
he came to the eye, and ultimately became the eye of 
his eye. As he thus began to see the world, the world began 
to vanish from before him. His entire body, in fact, became 
endowed with vision (Abg. 115). He rose beyond merit 
and demerit. He left the three states of consciousness 
behind him. He dwelt in the light of the spiritual moon 
(Abg. 110). He was thus greatly indebted to his spiritual 
teacher, for he showed him the eye of his eye, which put an 
end to all doubt whatsoever (Abg. 117). Inside his heart, 
he saw Janardana. The vision of self- illumination dispelled 
all his infatuation (Abg. 118). At the dawn of mystical ex- 
perience, he saw that the whole world was clothed in radiance 
(Abg. 1 19). When the Spiritual Sun arose, he saw that there 
was neither noon, nor evening, nor morning. There was a 
constant rise of the Spiritual Sun before him. There was an 

15 F 


eternal end to all setting whatsoever. The East and the West 
lost their difference. Action and non-action both became 
as the Moon by day (Abg. 120). As he stepped inside 
water for bathing, lie saw the vision of (!od even in water. 
By that vision, even the Ganges became sacred. To whatever 
place of pilgrimage Ekanatha went, it was rendered holy by 
his presence (Abg. 121). Ekanatha tells us that real San- 
dhya consists merely in making obeisance to all beings with the 
feeling of non-diiTerence (Abg. 122). As the cloud of Eka- 
natha began to rumble in the sky, the ocean of Janardana 
began to overstep its limits (Abg. 12-1). Ekanatha tells us 
with warmth that he saw a four-handed vision of God, 
with a dark-blue complexion, with a conch and disc in his hands, 
a yellow garment over his body, and a beautiful necklace 
on his breast (Abg. 126). With one-pointed devotion, wher- 
ever the devotee may go, he sees the vision of God. lie sees 
Cod in his meditation, in sleep, in the world, and in the forest 
(Abg. 128). Inside and outside, he sees God. Sleeping, and 
waking, and dreaming, he is always enjoying the vision of 
(Jod (Abg. 129). Wherever such a one sees, he finds that Cod 
fills all directions and quarters (Abg. 130). God seems to be 
almost shameless, because there is no garment which he wears. 
God even becomes a white hog, says Kkanatha (Abg. 132). God 
becomes so happy in the house of the Saints, says Kkanatha, 
that He does not depart from their house, even though He is 
thrown out of the house. God enjoys the company of the 
Saints, and keeps returning to them even though He is driven 
away (Abg. 133). As one moves out to a foreign land, (Jod 
moves with him. On mountains and precipices, wherever the 
eye is cast, God is seen. Ekanatha satin the immaculate enjoy- 
ment of God, and so he did not move out into the world or into 
the forest (Abg. 134). His mind became engrossed in God, 
so much so, that it became God. As Ekanatha began to sec 
God, the world began to vanish from him (Abg. 13(5). He did 
not care now whether his body remained or departed. A 
rope-serpent neither dies nor comes to life. We really did die, 
says Ekanatha, while we were living, and having been dead, 
yet lived (ALg. 138). r l he whole world became to us now 
, full of the joy of God. Our mind rested on His feet (Abg. 139). 
'The result of such a unitive devotion was that (Jod and devotee 
became one. Cod forever stood before Ekanatha, and the 
'distinction between God and' Devotee vanished (Abg. 140). 
Now, nsks Ekanatha, how would it be possible for him to 
worship God ? All the materials of worship, such as scent, 
incense, light, and so on, were all the forms of God, with the 


result that there was no distinction between worshipper and 
worshipped (Abg. 143). So long as the world does not allow 
one to worship oneself, till then an ignorant man must appear 
better than a self -worshipper (Abg. 144). Now, says Ekanatha, 
I became one with Brahman. 1 became free from all the 
^roubles of existence ; free from physical and mental torments ; 
I was left alone to myself with the result that all duality was 
at an end (Abg. 145). All that appeared to the vision was 
now to me the form of God (Abg. 147). All the directions 
^became filled with God. There was thus no distinction be- 
tween the East and the West. If God filled every nook and 
cranny of the universe, where was there any place left for 
Him to occupy (Abg. 149) ? 1 found out a suitable field 
for tilling, says Ekanatha. I sowed the seed of spiritual 
illumination. When the crop came out, the world was too 
small to contain the grain. Various Sciences have tried 
to take the measure of God, says Ekanatha, and yet God 
has remained immeasurable (Abg. 150). 

The Bhagavata of Ekanatha. 

1. The Bhagavata of Kkanatha is a Marat hi Commentary 

on the eleventh Skanda of Shrlmat Bhaga- 

The Place and Date of vata. Ekanatha got his inspiration to 

Composition. open to the Marathi-speaking people this 

treasure of divine love, hidden in the 
Sanskrit language, from Jnanesvara, who had done pioneering 
work in this line. by writing the Jiianesvari. Though Jfianes- 
vara and Kkanatha are separated from each other by nearly 
three centuries, Jfianesvara's influence upon Ekanatha is 
so great that his Bhagavata appears to be merely an enlarged 
edition of the Jfianesvari. In the works of Ekanatha, we 
meet with the same thoughts, the same similes, even the very 
words and phrases, which we meet with in the Jiianesvari. 
Kkanatha's greatness consists in using the old material with 
ail addition of fresh stock for building a structure which wears 
a new yet old and familiar appearance. Following Jiianes- 
vara, Kkanatha, at the close of his work, mentions the place 
and date of composition of his work. He tells us that he under- 
took this work of commentation at Paithana, his own native 
place, and a great centre of pilgrimage on the banks of the 
(jiodavaii, the longest and holiest river in the Dcccan. There, 
however, he could finish five Adhyayas only. The rest were 
completed in the Panohamudra Matha at Benares on the banks 
of the holy Oanges. Kkanatha is silent about the reasons 
which led him to discontinue his work at Paithana, and to 
undertake a long journey to Benares to finish it. He simply 
proceeds to give the date of the composition according to the 
methods of calculation current in both parts of the country - 
the Deccan as well as the North. To state it according to 
Vikrama era current at Benares, it was the Vjisha Samvatsara 
1630 (i.r., 1573 A.D.). In this year, it was in the auspicious 
month of Karttika on the full-moon day on Monday that the 
work was completed. "Listen/* he says, "to the year of 
composition according to the Saka era established in my land. 
Tt was in the Saka year 1495 that this wonderful commentary 
was completed through the grace of Jaiiardana" (K. B. XXXI. 
527 28, 535, 552 --56). 

2. Ekanatha is one of those few saint-poets who have 

obliged the future generations by tracing 

Family History. their family ancestries at the beginning or 

end of their works. Unlike Jnanadeva, who 

is satisfied with tracing only his spiritual lineage, Ekanatha, 


in the beginning of his work, after he has offered salutations 
to the (iod and (Joddess of Learning, proceeds to give 
an account of his family. He says that the family in which he 
was born, through good fortune, was a Vaislmava family, 
that is,'. a family whose tutelary deity was f!od Vishnu, lie 
was the fourth in descent from Bhanudasa, the illustrious 
devotee of the Sun Deity, whose birth in the family so endeared 
it to (Jod. Ekanatha tells us that even when quite young, this 
servant of the Sun-god endeared himself to the luminous (lod 
by his unflinching devotion, and thus, through his grace, him- 
self became the Sun of spirituality. Conquering the sense 
of conceit and pride, he made such a tremendous advance in 
spirituality that he now and then saw divine visions. His 
devotion and spirituality were so great that (?od Vitthala 
once actually visited Paithana in order to have a look at his 
feet, and in the dead of night, Bhamidfisu saw before him his 
own Ishtam bedecked with precious ear-rings, and illuminating 
the whole surrounding world. Chakrapani was the son of this 
widely renowned Bhanudasa. Bhauudasa named his grand- 
son Surya, and expired. " Conceiving from this luminous 
Surya, Kukmini his wife, gave birth to me." "Hence it 
is", he adds, " that Hakhumai is my very mother " 
(E.B.I. 130 34). 

3. As is common with these Maharashtra Saints, Kkanatha 
proceeds to trace his spiritual lineage. 
Spiritual Lineage. The originator of his line was (Jod Dat- 
tatreya. The first to receive initiation 
from him was Sahasrarjuna, and king Yadu was the second. 
In this Kaliyuga, Janardana alone had the good fortune to 
be accepted as disciple by Dattatreya. The divine discontent 
that Janardana felt was so great, that in thinking of his (Juru, 
he lost all outward sense. Seeing the divinely discontented 
state of Janardana's heart, (Jod Dattatreya, who expects only 
sincere faith from his devotees, approached him and favoured 
him by placing his hand on his head. Miraculous was the 
effect of this touch ! Janardana became the master of all 
spiritual illumination. He clearly felt the emptiness of this 
transitory world, and realised within himself the true nature 
of Atman. Dattatreya taught him that faith which preaches 
inaction through action. Janardana now understood the 
secret of living free, though embodied. r l he faith that was 
generated in Janardana 4 s heart through the grace of (!od 
Dattatreya was so determinate and fearless, that he never 
thought himself polluted even when he accepted the house- 
holder's life, and continued to perform the duties of that 


station. When his soul was thus overflowing with the spiritual 
possession bestowed by divine grace, it lost the very power 
of intelligence. Janardana could nob control the oncoming 
of this rapturous ecstasy, and lay on the ground motionless 
like a corpse. Dattatreya brought his mind down to the world 
of phenomena, and gently admonished him that even that 
kind of emotional surging was after all the work of the Sattvic 
quality, and that the highest state consisted in suppressing 
the emotional swelling, and living a quiet life with the con- 
viction of the realised Self. Having finished his worship, 
Janardana wanted to prostrate himself before his Guru. But 
when he lifted his eyes, to his utter amazement he found 
that Dattatreya had vanished away. Ekanatha, at the end, 
oilers an apology for going out of his way to give such a de- 
tailed account of his spiritual teacher. His apology consists 
in simply putting before his hearers his utter inability as 
compared with Janardana. He says that even when he would 
like to be silent, his (5uru would not allow him to do so. Thus, 
in spite of himself, he was forced to give an account of his 
spiritual lineage (E. B. IX. 430 430, 454). 

4. Tt was the sincere belief of Ekanatha that though, to 
all appearances it was his hand that was 

Ekanatha's Humility working to produce the Commentary, 
before Janardana. the real agency that worked was no 
other than that of Janardana himself. 
It was his grace, he tells us, that enabled him to under- 
take and finish that gigantic commentary on the eleventh 
Skanda of Shrlmat Bhagavata. Just as a father holds in 
his hand the tiny armlet of his child, and by means of it 
writes all the letters himself, so here it was Janardana, who 
through him opened to the world the secret of the eleventh 
Skanda. As to his ability to perform the task, he says he must 
frankly state that he was a perfect ignoramus, that he knew 
not even how to proceed with the task, much less how to be 
true to the original. He waw a perfect stranger to that kind 
of literary art. He was simply the mouthpiece of Janardana. 
Ekanatha is not wearied to state that in getting this huge work 
done through a blockhead like himself, Janardana had verita- 
bly performed a great miracle. To explain the meaning of 
every sentence in the Bhagavata is a task beyond the capacities 
of even the great founders of philosophical systems. And yet 
here in this Marathi commentary, all this has been achieved by 
Ekanatha. r l his is indeed due to the mercy of the omnipotent 
Janardana. !?ucli indeed is the extraordinary grandeur of 
Janardana's grace! (E.B. XXXI. 496-504). 


5. So wonderful was the working of this grace that in spito 

of the authorship of this work, Ekanatha 

Ekanatha, an Enigma tells us that he continued to be an enigma 
to bis Neighbours. to his neighbours. 1 n the following words, 

he gives a very graphic description of 
popular notions about him. "Attend to the tale -of 
kka Janardana/' he says. "Those that will perchance read 
his work will pronounce him to be an erudite Pandit ; 
but if, by chance, they happen to meet him personally, they 
will surely find him an ignoramus. Some persons look 
upon him as a great devotee, yet some others believe him to 
be a Jivanmukta. Some, on the other hand, conclude that 
Kka is assuredly a worldly-minded man, attached to sense- 
pleasures. They declare that Kka Janardana knows nothing 
of Yogic postures, nor has lie ever counted beads or practised 
meditation. He is not even found to be regular in the obser- 
vance of a single rule, nor does he wear on his body any rosary 
or such other sectarian mark. Thus there is nothing with 
him that would characterise him as one walking on the path 
of devotion. To them, therefore, he is a great mystery. They 
therefore declare ' Who knows what sacred formula he possesses, 
and what he preaches to his disciples! lie takes all possible 
care to keep his Mantra secret. He simply takes undue ad- 
vantage of the blind faith of the poor innocent, and deludes 
them. He resounds the air with Clod's name, and hypnotises 
his hearers.' Such is the nature of the doubts that Janardana 
himself kindles in their hearts. When Kka tries to give an 
account of himself, Janardana forces him aside, and begins 
to speak himself. Somehow, all trace of egotism in him is lost. 
The smallest movement of his tiniest finger is caused by Janar- 
dana himself (K. B. XXXI. 505 511). 

6. We close this portion of the historical account by giving 

in the words of Kkanatha the history 

Bbagavata, of the Bhagavata itself. Ekanatha uses 

a Great Field. the simile of a field to trace the history 

of the Bhagavata. "Sri Bhagavata,'' 
he says, "is a great iield. Brahma was the first to obtain 
seed. Narada was its chief proprietor. And it was he who 
did this wonderful work of sowing the seed. Vyasa secured 
protection for the field by erecting ten bunds about it, and the 
result was the unusually excellent crop of divine bliss. Suka 
worked as a watchman to guard the crops : with simply dis- 
charging tho sling of ()od\s name, ho made the 1 sin-birds flow 
away. Uddhava thrashed the ears, heaped them together 
in the form of the eleventh Skanda, and winnowing the corn, 


separated the grains in the form of the weighty words of Sri 
Krishna. From these were very skilfully prepared several 
dishes with an immortal flavour. Parikshit succeeded Ud- 
dhava. He broke with the world to listen to the Bhagavata 
from the lips of Sukadeva, and obtained divine bliss. Fol- 
lowing in his footsteps, Sridhara illuminated the hidden meaning 
of the Bhagavata in his Bhavarthadipika. and brought blissful 
peace for himself. The favourite fly of Janardana, namely, 
Ekanatha, with the two wings of the Marathi dialect, flew 
straight upon that dish, and enjoyed it to its heart's content, 
as it was left there unmolested by any one. Or, otherwise, 
it might be said that Janardana's favourite cat happened 
to see the delicious preparations through the light of the 
Bhavarthadipika. Smelling the dish to be pure and delicious, 
it ventured and approached the plates. When it mewed, the 
merciful Saints w r cre pleased to offer to it a morsel of the rem- 
nants of their dish. The favourite cat of Janardana was sim- 
ply overjoyed to lick the unwashed vessels of these Saints, 
and it enjoyed the dish as a heavenly ambrosia" (K.B. XXXT. 
443 - 454). 

I. Metaphysics. 

7. in his metaphysical views, Kkanatha shows a distinct 
influence of Sankara, the eminent chain- 
Introductory, pion of Vedantic Monism. Tt, however, 
appears that he appreciated and digested 
that great scholar's philosophy not only through his Sanskrit 
works, but also through the Marat hi works of Jfianadeva and 
Mukundaraja, especially through the works of the former. 
He expounds the spiritualistic monism of Sankara. using as is 
usual with him, the materials already prepared by Jfiaiiadeva. 
For similes and ideas, it appears that he has laid under obli- 
gation not only the Jnanesvar! but even the Amritanubhava. 
Kkanatha believes in Sankara \s theory with all its deductions. 
It may therefore be truly said that his great contribution to 
philosophy consists in the popularisation of the Vedanta. 
Jnanadeva disappeared from this mundane world quite pre- 
maturely. Namadeva lived long and did a great deal of 
propagandist work by travelling on foot from South to North, 
and resounding the air with Cod's name ; yet he shows little 
trace of any acquaintance with Sanskrit scholars. Tuka- 
rama who flourished after Kkanatha, carried on, with great 
success, the work of Namadeva. But he too lacked the close 
acquaintance with Sanskrit in which the treasures of Yedantic 
philosophy were hidden. By his temperament, by his external 


environments like that of a birth at Paithana, then a great 
centre of Sanskrit learning, by his long term of life, and nob 
the least, by his fortunate acquisition of divine grace quite 
early in life, Ekanatha was of all the fittest person to popu- 
larise the Vedanta. We give below a brief statement of the 
salient features of his metaphysical views. 

8. Kkanatha, as has been said above, advocates the 

theory of spiritualistic monism. But it is a 
Brahman alone is monism proved through nescience. Kka- 
Rcal ; the World is natha says: " Before its manifestation 
Unreal. the woild was not. After its disappear- 

ance it will not leave even a trace of its 
existence behind it. What therefore manifests itself during 
the middle state of existence is unreal, and manifests itself 
through the power of Maya. Parabrahman or the Highest Being 
is the beginning of this world. It is that peerless Brahman 
that survives the destruction of the world. Naturally, even in 
the state of existence, when the world appears to possess a 
concrete existence, what really exists is not the world but 
Brahman. Only to the undiscriminating this illusory show 
appears as real." To illustrate what he means : "A mirage has 
no existence prior to the rays of the sun. And it dies without 
a trace when the sun sets. Naturally, during the middle 
state of existence what appears as flowing water is simply an 
illusion. Ideally, not a drop of real water can be found where 
such an amount of water appears to have flown." To take 
another illustration : "A rope is often confounded with a ser- 
pent. Prior to this confusion, a rope exists as a rope. When, 
the misconception is removed, there is again the rope existing. 
Hence even when in the middle state, the illusion causes the 
confused perception of a, serpent, the rope stands as a rope 
unchanged or unmodified." Kkanatha therefore concludes 
that if one were to think about the beginning and the end 
of the world, one will be convinced that Brahman alone is 
real, and the world is unreal (K. B. XIX. 87 1)1). 

9. The existence of this concrete world is the greatest 

stumbling block in the path of all the 
Four Proofs of monists. Kkanatha therefore brings forth 
the Unreality of the all possible arguments to prove the unreal 
World. character of this seemingly real world. 

" Brahman alone, without a second, ex- 
ists. r l he world is only apparently real. It possesses an 
imaginary existence supported by the reality of Brahman." 
Kkanathii advances four arguments to prove the unreality 
of the world. First, the Scriptures can \vell stand witness 


to this. Secondly, we all of us perceive the transiency of body. 
Then, again, Markandeya and Bhusundi have witnessed for 
millions of times the whole world reduced to ashes at the end 
of each cycle. This hear-say coming from the lips of the hoary 
venerable persons is the third proof, which may be called the 
historical proof. What is known as Inference in logic is the 
fourth proof to prove the unreality of the universe. It can 
be laid down in the following manner : "A rope is a rope at 
all times. But through misconception it is understood vari- 
ously as a log of wood, a serpent, a garland of pearls, or a line of 
a water flow. Similarly, Brahman is existence itself, knowledge 
itself. But various mysterious theories discuss it as a mere void, 
or as being qualified. They range from pure nihilism to plural- 
ism of an extreme type. Tims the fact that a variety of theories 
exists clearly shows that this world-experience is false." Eka- 
natha therefore asserts that in this case the Yedantic theory 
alone expresses the truth. "As the cloth cannot be supposed 
to have an independent existence apart from the thread 
that goes to form it, so the world cannot be supposed to pos- 
sess an independent existence apart from Brahman. Beyond 
the thread, which, woven into warp and woof, gives exis- 
tence to the cloth, cloth is only a name. So the world beyond 
the Brahman which supports this misconception has exis- 
tence only in name" (E. B. XIX. 197- -205). 

10. In order to explain the existence of plurality, a monist 

of the type we are considering is required 

Avidya, Vidya to think of a principle which will partake 

and Maya. f both unity and plurality, and which 

without tampering in any way the purity 
of the One, will yet be the parent of the Many. The Sankarite 
Vedanta, with one important modification, accepts the Prakyiti 
of the Samkhyas for such a principle. The Samkhyas believe 
in the eternity and independence of this principle. r l he 
Vedanta of Sankara just removes these two characteristics, 
makes it an existence dependent upon the Atman, describes 
it as having its end with the rise of the knowledge of the Atman, 
and steers clear of a rock upon which many monistic theories 
have suffered shipwreck. Kkanatha follows Sankara in the 
hypothesis of this explanatory principle. lie first states 
the traditional meaning of Vidya, Avidya and Maya and then 
proceeds to the important question of their futility. Vidya, 
he says, can be defined as the experience which one has at 
the time of real knowledge. It expresses itself in the con- 
sciousness "I am Brahman''. It is this experience which 
destroys Avidya, which is the parent of all misery. The 


belief that * I am sinful and ever unfortunate' is the clear ex- 
pression of Avidya, the mother of all doubts and miseries. 
Avidya enchains the individual self, Vidya delivers him from 
bondage. But these two are the eternal powers of Maya, 
a great enchantress who is a perpetual enigma to men as well 
as to angels. She is a riddle because she cannot be proved 
to be real or unreal. She cannot be proved to be real, be- 
cause she vanishes with the first ray of spiritual knowledge. 
And she cannot be proved to be unreal inasmuch as everyone 
feels her presence and power day and night. She has there- 
fore been called the 'Indescribable', neither real nor unreal. 
It is she who spreads a net of allurement for the world. Jt is 
she who breeds and brings up under her fostering care the 
two powers, namely, Vidya and Avidya. But if one were to 
come closer and look at her carefully, it will be seen that this 
Enchantress is no other than the finite Self's own idea (K. B. 
XT. 98 100, 102- 100). 

11. Janaka, king of the Vidchas, asked Antariksha a ques- 

tion about the nature of this Maya. There- 

As Maya is not, any upon, Antariksha said to the king, kfc Well, 

question about it is y u have asked me a question about the 

useless. nature of Maya. But it is a question 

which is futile, as in this case the speaker 
has no support, or hold at all. All speech is at an end if a king 
demands from his servant the horoscope of a barren woman's 
son. Suppose some one was to build a shed for supplying 
water to the passers-by living in a town in the clouds ; suppose 
some one was to card the wind, roll it and light it at the Hame 
of a fire-fly ; or suppose some one was to break the head of his 
shadow or take the skin off the body of the sky ; or suppose 
a son was born to the daughter-in-law of a barren lady, who was 
so graceful of figure that his very sight brought milk in the 
breasts of Bhlshma's wife. Grind the wind minutely in a wind- 
mill ; break open the heaven with the horns of a horse ; or 
let lamps be lighted with the lustre of a red berry to celebrate 
the marriage-ceremony of Hanuman. The story of Maya can be 
told by those wiseacres who would make the above suppositions. 
Thus all discussions about Maya would bring shame to the man 
who would venture to describe her" (E.B. ill. 32 40). 

12. We have said in the beginning that Ekanatha's great 

work consists in the popularisation of 

There is no room for the Vedfmtic philosophy. If a further 

the world. proof is necessary, it can be obtained 

from the various beautiful solutions which 

he offers of the problems he raises in his commentary. They 


show what a keen logical acumen this devotee of Pandhara- 
pur possessed. Let us hear what he says about his proof 
of the non-existence of the world. "It must be granted, 
he says, that there are two existences, the soul and the body. 
The question is, which of them supports Samsara ? It is no 
use saying that the Samsara does not exist at all, for every- 
one of us feels its existence day arid night. 80, that it exists 
is a fact, and the question of its support must be solved. But 
the Atman, which is ever free, and which is the principle of 
intelligence, cannot be its support ; nor can Samsara be sup- 
ported by body which is dull and insensate. The eternal Atman 
transcends all definition and description. It is his self-efful- 
gence that helps the Sun and the Moon to send floods of light 
which alternately illumines the whole world. Such a self- 
cfTulgent Atman could be fettered by the world-fetters, only 
if the Sun were to be drowned in a pool of mirage or to be 
burnt up by the fire of a fire-fly, or if the golden mountain 
Meru, which is considered to be the support of the three worlds, 
were to be drowned in a small pond, or finally if the heavens 
were to be blown up by the flutter of a fly's wings. We may 
go further and say that even if these impossibilities were to 
happen, the Atman shall not be fettered by the world-fetter. 
As to body which is dull, stupid, and material, not even a 
fool will be prepared to regard it as the support of this world. 
If a stone were to suffer a stomach-ache, or if a mountain were 
to be affected with cholera, or if darkness were to be whitened 
by charcoal, then the body would support the Samsara. Thus 
there is no room for the world either in the Atnmn or in the 
Body (E. B. XXV1I1. 122 -- 133). 

13. Brahman has been declared by the VedavS to be indi- 
visible. What then has divided it into 
The Individual Self two ? Possibly he divided himself into 
and the Universal Self . two, after the fashion of a man looking 
in a mirror. But what a groat contrast 
do these two selves present ? When a man is before a 
mirror, his reflection stands before him, and appears to 
copy him exactly. But really it can be contrasted with the 
original in every way. For instance, if a man is looking in 
the eastern direction, his reflection in the mirror looks in 
the opposite, that is, the western direction. If so, how can 
it be regarded as the faithful copy of the original ? So, in the 
case of Atman, Maya, produces a wonderful difference. The 
Universal Self has his vision directed towards himself ; while 
his copy, the individual self, directs his sight towards the 
world. Hence though it appears that they look at each other. 


they are entirely opposed to one another (R. B. XXIV. 
90 ' 93). 

14. Though opposed to each other, they are yet best friends. 

They can be very well compared to two 
The Figure of two birds who have nestled on the same 
Birds. tree, namely, the body. Both arc equally 

intelligent, and in their eternal and un- 
dying love for each other excel the love of any other pair. 
At no time, whether by day or night, can they be seen sepa- 
rated from each other. On account of their close friendship 
and sincerity, they live together sportively. As the lamp 
never leaves the company of light, and vice versa, one cannot 
be separated from the other. Whatever the finite self desires, 
(Jod never refuses but hastens to supply. (Jod immeasurably 
satisfies all the desires which a man has in the last moments 
of his life. In return, the finite self also has surrendered him- 
self to him completely. So great is the attachment between 
the two, that the Unite self ungrudgingly obeys his friend, 
Cod, in the minutest detail, and even at the cost of life. When 
in great difficulty, the finite self prays to (Jod for succour, 
and through mercy natural to Him, He runs to help him at 
the first call. Thus the finite self lives by (Jod's grace, and 
in the end becomes one with Him. (Jod also loves him to 
such an extent that He lives only for him. These reciprocal 
acts of love have but one exception. I 1 he finite self is greatly 
fond of tasting the sour, stringent fruits of the fig-tree. In spite 
of God's continuous warnings, he goes on tasting these fruits, 
and as a result suffers the miseries of birth and death. (iod 
Himself, never tastes these fruits, and thus enjoys eternal 
bliss (K. B. XT. 164 173, 199- 205). 

15. The two are the best friends because they are in essence 

one and the same. Here, there is no 

The essential unity of room for the smallest degree of difference. 

Jiva and Siva. '1' continue the simile of a man looking 

into a mirror, when a man looks in this 
manner, he appears to double himself ; but in reality he is 
one. The distinctness is only an appearance. The reflection 
of (Jod in the dull mirror of Avidya is Jiva or the finite self, 
in the mirror of Vidya it is Siva or the Universal Self. Thus 
the grandeur of unity remains undefiled, in spite of the appear- 
ance of duality (K. B. XXII. Ill 113). 

16. In this body, as their necessary background, the 
Atman is an over-present, changeless factor in all the 
varying states of body and mind. Living in a body, yet 
himself unsoiled by bodily changes, he is a continuously 


present witness to our changing states. This continuity of 
the Atman can be very well inferred 
The Atman is pre- from the constant experience of every 
sent in all states of human being, that it is he who was once 
body and mind. a young child, has become now a youth, 

and will, after a sufficient lapse of time, 
become a decrepit old man. In the state of wakefulness 
a man enjoys an infinite variety of objects. It is he who, 
in his dream, develops within himself the traces of the sense- 
enjoyments of the waking lifc. Again, it is he, who, without 
any vivid consciousness attached to him, witnesses sound sleep, 
where the mind is absorbed in ignorance and where there is 
neither waking nor dream. With the change of states, however, 
he does not change. He remains conscious that it is he who 
witnesses the waking state, the dream and the sleep. These 
things, says Kkanatha, are sufficient to prove the continuity 
of the Atman (E. B. XIII. 481 - 483, 486, 490 491 ). 

17. As the Atman is a changeless witness to the varying 

states of mind and body, so he is an un- 

The Atman remains modified witness to the creation, existence, 

unmodified. and destruction of the whole universe. 

What is true in the case of the microcosm 
needs only to be extended to the case of the macrocosm. 
Atman is not born with the creation of the world, nor does 
he die with the destruction of the world. The world is born, 
grows,. or is destroyed. Atman is not born, nor does he grow, 
or die. He remains changeless all the while (E. B. XX VII I. 
258 259). 

18. If this is the true nature of the Self, where is there 

any room for the states of bondage and 

Freedom is an illu- freedom ? They have not the slightest 

sion, because bondage room for existence in man's spiritual 

is so. nature. It is all the working of the 

Qualities. The Self is in no way involved 
in them. Qualities are the creations of Maya, and the true self 
transcends the influence of Maya. If truth can be overcome 
by falsehood, or if a person living in rerum natura can be drowned 
in the flood of a mirage, then alone can the true Self be fettered 
by these Qualities and States. The all-pervading self-efful- 
gent Atman, man's true Self, alone exists and is ever free 
(E. B. XI. 2932). 

II. Ethics. 

19. Ekanatha is very elaborate in giving gentle admoni- 
tions useful for spiritual life. The Bhagavata of Ekanatha can 


be well called the best guide to an aspirant who is trying 
to explore the unknown region of Divine 
Introductory. Bliss. But. as elsewhere, the chief merit 

of Ekanatha consists in his power of 
exposition rather than in absolute originality. We do not 
mean to say that there is nothing original in Ekanatha. It 
is impossible that there should be no originality. But it is 
a fact which even Ekanatha would have gladly admitted 
that he was so much influenced by Jfianadeva, that practically 
it was Jiianadeva who was explaining himself through Eka- 
natha. As for virtues, the cultivation of which forms a prac- 
tical background for the development of spiritual experience, 
Ekanatha mentions the usual virtues, namely, purity, penance, 
endurance, celibacy, non-killing, equanimity, and such others. 
We qiiote here a few cases just to bear oiit what we have said. 

20. The sine qua nou of spiritual life is purity, internal as 

well as external. The mind becomes im- 
Purity. pure by contact with evil desires. So long 

as it is not purified, all talk of spiritual 
life is useless. As gold purified in a crucible shines bright, so 
the constant meditation on the teachings of the Guru makes 
the mind pure, and bright with spiritual lustre, llms if inside 
the mind is purified by the words of the Guru, that purity 
is sure to reveal itself through external activities. Mere bodily 
purity, without the purity of the heart, is absolutely useless. 
It would be a mere farce, like bathing a donkey. It is an 
empty show. It would be as ludicrous as a beautiful lady 
wearing on her head a garland of pearls, but all the while 
standing naked. What is absolutely necessary, therefore, 
is an internal purity of the heart coupled with the external 
purity of good actions (K. B. II I. 380 399). 

21. Penance Ekanatha has described in various ways. 

Here also he distinguishes between the 
Penance. external appendages and the internal 

ore of penance. To emaciate one's body 
by fasting, or some such processes, is not true Penance. So 
long as there are evil passions in man, all external appliances 
are useless. For instance, a man may retire in a forest, and to 
all external appearances may be said to have forsaken the 
world, but in mind, all the while, he may be thinking of his 
own beloved. And then his stay in a forest proves to be 
absolutely useless. The true meaning of penance, therefore, 
is constant meditation on God (K. B. XTX. 451 454). 

22. To attain to God, it is necessary that a man must 
retire to solitude. lie must lead a lonelv life. Where there 


are two. Satan is always a third. This can be illustrated 
by the instance of a young girl to be 
Retirement. married. Supposes while alone in the house, 

her house was visited by the members 
of her would-be husband's family. Consistent with her 
modesty, she would oiler hospitality through a window, thus 
showing that she was alone in the house. But she would 
now think that she must help her mother by pounding rice. 
When she would begin pounding, with the raising and lower- 
ing of her hand, her bangles would make noise. But that 
noise would carry an impression to the bridegroom's party 
that her family was poor. To avoid such an impression, 
she would take out one bangle after another. So long as 
there were more than one bangle in each hand, they would 
continue to make noise. She would therefore leave in each 
hand one bangle, so that all noise would come to an end. This 
illustration would show how an aspirant must retire from 
the world, and lead a lonely life for (Jod (K B. IX. 113 
115, 87 102). 

23. According to Kkanatha, another very important virtue 

which an aspirant must cultivate is the 
Bearing with the virtue of hearing with the defects of others. 
defects of others. ^ n the description of the virtues, but 
especially in the description of this and 
the next, the very life of Kkanatha seems to be reflected. To 
attend to the faults or defects in others is the worst of all faults 
in men. Virtue consists in not observing either the vice or 
virtue in others. If Brahman truly transcends the duality 
of vice and virtue, he who is prone to notice the faults or merits 
in others can be safely declared not to have attained to a true 
realisation of Brahman. Divine experience will forsake a 
man who attends to the vices or virtues in others. In. a total 
solar eclipse, the stars become visible to the human eye even 
by day. Similarly, when this duality is visible, it can bo 
i safely inferred that the divinity is absent in men. The per- 
ception of duality can, therefore, be regarded as the sure sign 
of the prevalence of ignorance (K. B. XIX. 574 579). 

24. For the attainment of the non-perception of this 

duality of virtue and vice in others, 

Bearing with the man must cultivate another but closely 

slander of ethers. allied virtue of enduring abuse from 

others. Why should a man ever think 

of retaliation or revenge, when a man who blanders is but 

his own reflex ? Suppose a man's teeth were to press against 

his own tongue. With whom shall he be angry '> In a tit of 


anger, will he root out the teeth, or cut off his tongue ? Surely, 
nothing like this will be done, because a man understands 
that both the tongue and the teeth are after all a part of him- 
self. He who sorters a fall by a sudden collision with another 
may easily have reason to be provoked against the latter. 
But suppose a man walks carefully, and his foot slips and he 
falls down. In this case with whom will he be angry ? A man 
in such a case simply looks down through shame, and resumes 
his course. A true Sadhu, similarly, suffers calmly the slanders 
of others, because he has realized his oneness with the uni- 
verse. He will never allow himself to be over-ruled by the 
passion of anger or revenge (K. B. XXTII. 778 781). 

25. So far, we have treated of positive virtues. We have 

said what virtues an aspirant must pos- 
Onc who is attached sess - We shall now discuss what vices 
to woman and wealth he should avoid. The first thing, an 
is neglected by God. aspirant must be free from, is attach- 
ment to wealth and woman. Let alone 

divine life ; even the ordinary and worldly life woidd become 
unhappy, if a man has a strong attachment to these. He is 
the seat of doubt, whose mind is maddened by attachment to 
wealth and woman. He becomes a stranger to worldly hap- 
piness ; what then of divine life ! He who loves money and is 
conquered by woman is shunned by (Sod, who lives in the 
temple of the body (K. B. XXTII. 305 307). 

26. A true aspirant, therefore, must be very careful in 

guarding himself against the evil in- 

An aspirant must not fluence of woman. So great and so many 

touch even a wooden are the centres of influence in this case. 

doll by his loot. that an aspirant will not know how and 

when the enemy has made entrance in his 
heart, and captured it. Ekanatha's injunction to an aspirant 
in this case is : %c Let not an aspirant, while hurrying through 
the street, touch even a female doll by his feet, lest she should 
generate in him the sexual consciousness." How the society 
of woman serves as a check or a hindrance, how it more often 
than not produces a destructive influence upon the aspirant 
lias been illustrated by Ekanatha by the example of an intoxi- 
cated elephant. So strong is this animal, that it is almost 
impossible to catch him and tame him. But even this huge 
anima\ is caught and tamed through his attachment towards 
the f emale of his species. To bear out his point, Ekanatha 
quot es from the Puranas a very interesting story. Usha, the 
diu ghtcr of the demon Ban a, saw in her dream Aiiiruddha, 
th? grandson of Krishna. Seeing him but once, and that too 

10 f 


in a dream, she fell in love with him, and she managed 
through her female attendant to secure his attachment to 
her. So magical is the influence of sex. It is, therefore, 
absolutely necessary for an aspirant, who wants the divine 
presence in his heart to cleanse his mind of sexual attach- 
ment (K B. VIII. 119 121, 120, 130 131). 

27. It might well be urged that there is no danger to an 

aspirant if the woman is herself Sattvic, 

A Sadhaka should that is, endowed with noble qualities. 

keep himself away from Cut Ekaiiatha advises an aspirant not 

the society of even to take a chance in this case, as the costs 

Sattvic women. would be disproportionately heavy. The 

human mind is proverbially fickle, and 
so long as it is not completely lost in (*od\s meditation, who 
knows what it may not love ! It is very likely that an as- 
pirant's mind may be softened by contact with a woman, as 
ghee melts in the vicinity of fire. An earthen jar that once 
contained ghee, say sixty years before, if kept near fire, would 
be moistened on account of the old remnants. Similarly, lust 
may rise even in old age. An aspirant must, therefore, keep 
himself aloof from the influence of woman (K. B. XXVI. 241- 

28. Worse, however, is the company of the uxorious, or men 

excessively fond of the company of 
Worse still is the com- women. We have heard of people, he 
pany of the uxorious, says, who have been helped by women in 

their journey towards Ood, like Madalasil 
or Ohudala. But no one, who has kept company with those 
who are attached to women, has ever been saved. It is these 
who by their passionate glorification of the sexual life excite 
the, passions that are slumbering in man. It is. therefore, 
highly essential that the company of these be avoided (K B. 
XXVI. 302, 251). 

29. The first step towards purification, the sine qua non 

of spiritual life, is a searching self-exami- 
Repentance is the nation culminating in repentance. For, 
greatest atonement. that alone has the, power to wash off all 
dirt generated in the human mind by 
the evil contact with sense-objects. A few moments of true 
repentance have the power to burn all sin. Repentance is, there- 
fore, the true act of atonement, which washes off all sin. All 
other acts of atonement are simply a farce. When once a man 
truly repents for his follies, he is sure to feel disgusted for past 
life, and thus to renounce the old ways of life. The story o\ 
Purur^vas is a standing example of this potency of repentance 


to break the tie of attachment in a single moment (K. B. XXVI. 
17 20). 

30. Kkanatha gives us a formula as to how to bring the 

mind under control. Has not the mind 

flind can be con- already levelled to the ground many of the 

quered by mind. so-called great persons '{ All sadhanas are 

useless against this. Ekanatha proposes 
an easy way of bringing it under control. As a diamond can 
be cut only by a diamond, so mind can be conquered only by 
mind. But even that is possible only when the grace of the 
Guru is secured. This unconquerable mind is, as it were, a 
maid-servant of the (5 urn, and is at his beck and call. Tf, there- 
fore, it is handed over to the control of the Guru, it shall gives 
the aspirant the contentment and bliss which it alone can give. 
It is proverbial that the human mind is naturally full of many 
vices. But it has one saving feature. If it chooses to secure 
Divine Grace for man, it can certainly do so. Mind is its own 
friend or foe, as the bamboo is the cause of both its gro\\th and 
destruction. The striking and rubbing of one branch of a 
bamboo against another produces a spark of fire that burns 
a whole forest of bamboos. Mind may destroy itself simi- 
larly, if it so thinks. The best means for its control is thus 
to make it our friend through the grace of the Guru, who alone 
can control it (K. B. XX11I. 084-691). 

31. Tf a man wants to improve himself, he can find models 

worth copying everywhere, and at any 

For different virtues, time. Kkanatha makes Avadhuta narrate 

different models. a very interesting account of his Gurus. 

For different virtues, Avadhuta takes 
different objects as his models. Avadhuta enumerates twenty- 
four such models. But he says that because it is possible to 
learn positively or negatively from almost everything in the 
world, in a sense, the whole world may be said to be full of 
Teachers. Only a man must have the will to learn (K. B. VII. 
341 344). 

32. Ekanatha is definitely of opinion that the Vedas want 

to preach the gospel, not of enjoyment 
Vedic injunctions but of renunciation. His argument may 
are calculated to wean be briefly stated as follows. Men have 
a man from sense- an instinctive tendency towards sense- 
objects: the cases of (1) gratification. Who is there that does 
marriage, and (2) sac- not love the world with all its entice- 
rifice. ments ? Who does not like woman, or 

wealth, or sweets ? Men have in-born 
tendencies towards flesh-eating, drinking, and copulation. 


So strong, is the attachment to these, that all the admoni- 
tions of the Saints prove absolutely futile in weaning a 
man from them. If this is so, what is the special feature 
of the Vedas, if they were to preach just this grati- 
fication of sense ? They may as well not exist at all. Thus 
the existence of the Vedas can be justified only if it be supposed 
that they preach control or renunciation, rather than un- 
restrained enjoyment. That that is the Vedic ideal can be 
inferred from the two institutions of marriage and sacrifice, 
which they have introduced. The Vedic ideal of marriage 
means not a license to legal prostitution. It is established 
to restrain the sexual instinct, whose unlimited satisfaction 
may bring down the fall of man. The fact that it has intro- 
duced so many restrictions in the case of marriage is in itself a 
sufficient indication of the underlying motive. Similar is the 
case of sacrifices like Sautramani or Asvamedha. They are 
introduced to put a restraint upon the unbridled instincts 
of man. Ekanatha thus concludes that the Vedas try to wean 
a man gradually from sense-objects, and in this wise gradation 
consists the importance of the Vedic Religion. It rightly 
understands human psychology, and therefore does not preach 
liko some other religions a wholesale renunciation. The 
gradual detachment brought by the slow and sure path of 
control is the ideal which the Vedas place before the world 
(K. B. V. 208 210, 218 - 219, 236 239). 

33. But Kkanatha completely understands the limitations 

of these injunctions. So long as a mango- 
Limitations of Vedic tree has fruits on it, it is not simply de- 
commands, sirable but even essential that it must 

have a watchman to guard it. But once 
the fruits are ripe and are removed to the owner's house, the 
watchman may be safely dispensed with. Similarly, so long 
as a man is under the influence of Avidya, it is binding upon 
him that he should obey the orders of the Vedas. But once 
a man has transcended body-consciousness, his soul being 
merged in Brahman, he may be said to have transcended also 
the limitations of Vedic orders (K. B. X1TI. 474- 75). 

34. lie, who is completely unattached to the objects of 

enjoyment, either in this world or in the 
Persons qualified for next, is the fittest man to betake 
knowledge, action and himself to the path of knowledge. On the 
devotion. other hand, he who is attached to sense- 

objects and has never dreamt of non- 
attachment or renunciation, is the person qualified for the 
path of action (K. B. XX, 74 -70). Kkanatha. however. 


treats at great length the qualifications of one fit for Bhakti. 
r l his Bhakta occupies a sort of a middle position. Having 
heard from the lips of the saints the greatness and mercy of 
(Jod, a strong conviction is produced in him that the true goal 
of man's life is to secure (Jod's grace. But unfortunately 
he has not the courage or the strength to free himself from the 
worldly bonds, and thus betakes himself to a solitary place 
to meditate on CJod. He is intellectually convinced of the 
emptiness of the world. But his attachment towards the world 
will not allow him to break with it. And he has therefore to 
stay on in the midst of a life which practically bores him. 
Suppose a child is attempting to lift up a heavy stone. When 
it has just raised it from the ground, suppose the stone slips 
from its hand and the child finds its hand heavily pressed 
under the weight of that very stone. The child then iinds 
itself unable to throw off the stone unaided. It is impatient 
to extract its hand, but the heavy weight of the stone will 
not allow it to do so. As the child in that state simply chafes 
and frets but is all the while unable to withdraw its hand, 
similarly, the Bhakta finds the weight of the worldly affairs 
too heavy for him, and wants to get rid of them at once, but has 
no mental strength to throw them off. and be free at once. He 
lives a worldly life, but does not, and cannot enjoy it. In such a 
state, he prays to Uod day and night for succour. Such a man, 
who is neither completely free from desire, nor is completely 
attached to sense-objects, but is all the while praying to (Jod, 
may be called a Bhakta. To him, (Jod reveals Himself, pleased 
by his constant prayer (K. B. XX. 78 87). 

35. Upon one who is attached to worldly objects nothing 

can confer greater benefit than the dis- 
The value of duly charge of the duty of the station in which 
discharging one's duty, he may be placed. r l he performance of 
duty alone has the power to purify the 
mind. Kkaniitha compares duty to a kind of philosopher's 
stone, which, if it is selflessly made to touch, will 
transform the whole world into the gold of Brahman. 
Or, he says, it can be called the Sun whose unselfish 
rise has the power to dispel the darkness of ignorance. A 
man who does not perform his duty is required to suffer the 
miseries of birth and death. r l he selfless discharge of one's 
duty pleases God. It can, therefore, be well called a boat which 
will help a man to cross the worldly ocean (K. B. XVI 11. 

36. When a man's heart is thus purified by the discharge 
of duty, he becomes qualified for Bhakti. Bhakti has been 


defined and classified in several ways. The usual classification 

is the nine-fold one. But often it is classi- 

Thc meaning o( ficd under three, four, or even two heads. 

Bhakti. Following Narada, the famous author of 

the Bhakti-sutras, Ekanatha defines 
Bhakti as the deep and sincere love for God. To be widely 
known in the world as a great devotee is an easy task. But 
to be a true and sincere devotee of God is a very difficult one. 
He, upon whom God chooses to shower His grace, can alone 
be a true devotee. Sincere love for God may be said to have 
arisen in him, whose heart is seen panting after Him day and 
night. A lady, who is for all external purposes engaged in 
doing service to her husband, but is in the heart of hearts 
thinking constantly of her paramour, cannot be called a chaste 
and devoted lady ; similarly, he cannot be called a true de- 
votee, who is externally engaged in doing worshipful acts 
to God, and yet is inwardly expecting a worldly return for it. 
He is not a true devotee whose eye is set on worldly honours 
and worldly objects, and who simply externally engages himself 
in doing service to God. A true Bhakta is lost in the thought 
of God, and day and night remembers Him alone. He, who 
has through God's grace found the fountain of infinite love 
towards Him, need not perform his daily ablutions ; for he 
has transcended the stage of action (K. B. XI. 1106- 1109). 
37. In the seventh Adhyaya of the Bhagavadglta occurs 

the famous four-fold classification of the 

The four kinds of Bhaktas, the distressed, the seeker for 

Bhaktas. knowledge, the lover of gain, and the 

knower of truth. Ekanatha tries to ex- 
plain the classification further. He says that the distressed, 
in the discussion of spiritual knowledge, does not mean one 
afflicted with the pains of a disease. Here the suffering or 
disease is the intense excitement of the mind for God-realis- 
ation. 1 he divinely distressed is so keen, and grows so 
impatient, that being unable to suffer the pangs of separation 
from God, he runs to a mountain-precipice to throw himself 
down, or rushes forth to throw r himself in a burning fire. This 
impatience for God-realisation is the true characteristic of the 
spiritually distressed. Finding him prepared to commit 
suicide, the other, the seeker for knowledge, asks him to note 
that this human life is given to him by God not for self-de- 
struction, but for patient work towards His attainment. He 
must look at the way by which the devotees of bygone times 
have been able to obtain God's favour. He says to him "What 
is the use of throwing away this golden opportunity ? Suicide 


will not bring you nearer Cod/' Such an advice some- 
what cools down the impatience of the divinely distressed 
man and he tries to understand how his predecessors on the 
spiritual path persevered in their attempts. This is the second 
stage, or the desire to know. Love of gain in this case does not 
mean love of money, for money is a definite obstacle in the 
path of the aspirant. The true love of gain means the expecta- 
tion to find (lod everywhere. He is a true lover of gain, 
who tries to see (4od even when he meets an infinite variety 
of objects. The knowcr, of course, means not one who is well 
versed in the worldly affairs or scriptures, but he who has 
realised Brahman (K JB. XIX. 272 280). 

38. The religion of the Bhagavata takes a special interest 

in the weak and the ignorant. Not 
Saguna easier of that it neglects the strong and the wise, 
approach than Nir- but it is true that it always piits before 
guna. itself the many in number, namely, the 

weak and the ignorant. Looking to the 
frailty and instinctive tendency for ease in every man, the 
Bhagavata always preaches an easy means to reach the (God- 
head. In several places, Kkanatha says that the Saguna 
or the Manifest is easier than the Nirguna or the Unmanifest. 
The apprehension of the Unmanifest is beyond the grasp of 
the intellect. Hence with discrimination and love, the as- 
pirants concentrate their minds on the Manifest and save 
themselves easily. A mind can easily think of the visible 
rather than the invisible. Thus, idol-worship is meant for 
one who cannot realise His presence in all beings. Let a man 
begin somewhere, and by gradual steps he may be led to 
higher stages (K. B. XX VII. 251 352 ; .Y71). 

39. He. whose mind is purified by the discharge of his 

duty and constant prayer to (Jod, feels 
The path of Knowledge, non-attachment to worldly objects, lie 

then learns to discriminate truly the real 
from the unreal. f l his discrimination is knowledge. It is by 
this that the wise know that the true self is not the body, 
but the self-effulgent Atman, who informs the physical 
and the subtle body. See through how many processes the 
sugar-cane has to pass before it can assume the pure form of a 
sugar-doll. First, the sugar-cane has to be squeezed in the 
juice-mill, thus producing a liquid juice. Thereupon, the juice 
is purified by heat and is exposed to cold to be congealed into a 
thick cake of sugar. But it has to be again melted -before 
it can be moulded into the form of a sugar-doll. Similarly, 
the discriminating first realize the unreality of the seemingly 


solid physical body, then destroy the subtle body, while finally 
they annihilate egoism and become Brahman themselves 

III. Mysticism. 

40. Krom Ekanatha's metaphysics and ethics, we now pass 

to his mysticism, the coping stone of 
Four means of God- his philosophy. Ekanatha gives Bhakti, 
realisation. Knowledge, denunciation and Medita- 

tion as the four means of (Uxl-realisation. 
Bhakti he defines as intense love, and Knowledge as the firm 
belief in the identity of the finite self and the infinite self. Re- 
nunciation is defined as a feeling of strong disgust which con- 
temptuously treats a damsel like Urvashi or a heap of jewels, as 
if they were like a blade of grass (E. B. XIX. 347352, 355). 
In addition to these, he lays stress in various places on the 
path of 'meditation'. Let concentration be actuated by love, 
hate, or fear. Jf a man concentrates his body, mind, and speech 
upon one object, he is sure, in course of time, to be so trans- 
formed as to be one with the object. In order to prove the 
wonderful power of 'meditation', he gives the illustration of 
an insect and a bee. A bee catches an insect, and keeps it in 
the fissure of a wall and goes out in search of food. Between the 
bee's departure and return, the poor insect is practically lost 
in the thought of the bee. The insect expects the bee to 
come and peck at it every moment. As a result of this ex- 
pectnnt concentration generated through fear, a wonderful 
transformation takes place in the insect. A day dawns when 
that crawling insect is itself transfomed into a flying bee, and 
in its own turn leaves the wall, and flies in the high air above. 
Ekanatha cleverly remarks that in this illustration both the 
insect and the bee are dull, and live only on the instinctive 
plane. If even an insect living on the instinctive plane is 
transformed into a bee through the strength of contemplation, 
will not the meditation of Hod, who is Self-effulgent, by a man, 
who is sentient and lives on the intellectual plane, transform 
him into God ? (E. B. IX. 236- 244). 

41. Ekanatha exhorts men to understand how precious this 

human life is. It is easy to be born 
One must make either in hell or in heaven ; because the 
haste to realise God. former is the effect of the excess of de- 
merit, while the latter is the result of exce ss 
of merit. A human birth on the other hand is possible onl y 
when merit and demerit balance each other. Coupled with 
this accidental character of human birth, if one were to note 


the impossibility of God- vision in any other life, one need not 
be told that one must make haste to realise the divinity in 
himself. If a man were to reason that he would try for spiritual 
life after he had gratified his sense, let him remember, says 
Ekanatha, that Death is certain, and no one knoweth the 
day and the hour when Death will lay his icy hand on us. 
As the soldier who has entered into the thick of a fight cannot 
take a moment's rest so long as he has not conquered his foe; 
or as a widower is most anxious to get himself wedded to a new 
bride ; so let a man with all speed make ready to take up this 
new bride, more beautiful, and more chaste than can be imagin- 
ed. As no moment is to be lost in the search of the lost child 
by a beloved monarch, so let no man waste a- moment to start 
for the search after this divine bliss. Slaying sloth, conquer- 
ing sleep, let a man watch and pray day and night, for "ye 
know not what hour your Lord doth come" (E. B. 11. 22 30 ; 
IX. ,334 344). 

42. Ekanatha divides his discussion of Bhakti into two 

parts : Bhakti as end, and Bhakti as 
Esoteric Bhakti. means. Ideal, or what we might call 

Esoteric Bhakti, is possible only on the 
highest plane of experience ; and it is therefore possible only 
to a select few. In this highest form, the means and the end 
merge into each other. At this stage, with their minds puri- 
fied by their faithful devotion, His devotees obtain the in- 
tuition of their true vself through the grace of the Guru. Erorn 
this view-point, they see that the hearts of all people are but 
temples for His residence. Thus they then see Him every- 
where inside and outside. T hen the devotee himself becomes 
God, who pervades the whole world. He now may be truly 
said to live, move, and have his being in Him. The perception 
of distinctions of kind, of names and forms, of conditions and 
actions, is now no bar to him for the true perception of divi- 
nity in all these. He is a true devotee whose conviction that 
Cod is everywhere is not in the least affected even when he 
sees before him an unmanageable variety of things and events. 
Ekanatha regards this as the acme of realisation, and is never 
wearied in describing the wonderful equality or even-minded- 
ness in the experience of such a realised soul. The truest 
worship offered to God consists in realising divine presence 
everywhere. .Realising His presence everywhere, such a Bhakta 
prostrates himself before men, women, and children, cows, asses, 
or horses. This kind of worship is possible only when God is 
pleased to illumine the heart of His Bhakta with the ray of 
His divine knowledge (E. B. XXIX. 275 280 ; 282 - 284). 


43. The highest duty according to the Bhagavata Dharnia. 

therefore, consists in relinquishing one's 

The True Bhagavata affection for one's belongings and dedi- 

Dharma. eating them all wife, children, home, 

or even one's life to the service of God. 
Kkanatha here tells us how all the eleven senses can be directed 
towards God. The Mind should always meditate on Him. 
The Ear should listen to the discussions of His greatness and 
mercy. The Tongue should always be active in uttering 
His holy name. The Hands should worship His image and the 
Feet should walk towards the holy temple, in which His image 
is installed. The Nose should smell the flowers and the "tulasi" 
leaves with which He is worshipped. The cast-off flowers of 
His worship should be placed on one's Head, and the water 
consecrated by the touch of His feet should be put inside the 
Mouth. Thus to direct towards God one's instinctive and 
purposive, religious and social actions, is the true Bhagavata 
Dharnia. As the bubbles on the watery wave are all the. while 
playing on the water, so the Bhakta is in all of his actions 
engaged in worshipping his Ideal (K. B. 11. 298- 303, 34(3 

44. We have up till now placed before our readers the 

highest kind of Bhakti and the truest 

Three grades oi the nature of the Bhagavata Dharnia. AVe 

Bhagavatas. now discuss the different grades of the 

devotees, according as they remain faith- 
ful or unfaithful to their ideal. The best of the Bhagavatas 
perceives God in all beings, and all beings in God. lie 
sees one God pervading the whole universe. Not only 
this, he realises that he himself is this all-pervading God. 
He is the greatest of devotees, the greatest of the Bhaktas. 
The second type of Bhagavata is he who makes a distinc- 
tion between God, His saints, and the ignorant masses of 
men. As he regards God as the highest object of 
reverence, he loves Him. His devotees in His eyes are just 
inferior to Him ; therefore he wants to make friendship with 
them. He pities the ignorant, as he considers them lowest 
in the scale ; and he neglects the God-haters because they are 
sinful. He is said to be of an inferior type of Bhakta, because 
he has not completely understood the Lord as He truly is. 
The last type is represented by him whose dogmatic con- 
viction would restrict divinity only to a stone-image. He 
never even bows before saints : what then of common people > 
He never even dreams of respecting them as divine : this is the 
lowest type (E. B. II. 643 C45 ; II. C49- G50 ; II. (J52 654). 


45. How the highest kind of Bhakta is merged in Divine joy 

has been well expressed by Kkanatha. 

The Bliss of the When a man begins to repeat God's 

repetition of God's name, a Bhakta through divine grace, 

Name. falls a victim to that divine madness, 

which, as it were, transfigures him com- 
pletely. Tears flow from his eyes, the body trembles, and 
his breath becomes slow. When the mind is thus absorbed 
in its spiritual essence, his throat is choked with excess of joy, 
his hair stand on end, his eyelids become half-opened, and his 
look becomes stationary. The constant repetition of God's 
name results in his mind being overcome by divine love, and 
he begins to lament loudly almost in a frenzied manner. But 
somehow this lamentation results in an equally frenzied 
laughter, and thus he alternately wails and laughs. He feels ex- 
cessive joy at the thought that the grace of the Guru has removed 
from him the last taint of egoism and ignorance. He exult- 
ingly dances because his toacher has returned to him his 
Self, who had been practically lost to him through his folly. 
With the exultation resulting from these, he begins to sing 
songs of God's praise. But then, he even leaves that, and 
cries aloud : fcfc 1 am the singer as well as the hearer. I am my 
song. T alone exist in this world. There is no trace of duality 
to be met with " (E. B. Til. 589- 002). 

46. Thus it is the utterance of God's name that gives the 

blessed contentment to a man's heart. 

Bhakti, a Royal Bhakti may, therefore, be well called the 

Read. great royal road, for God personally 

stands there to guard the wayfarer from 
the attacks of highwaymen. With the disc in His hand, 
God asks His devotee if He can do anything for him. Him- 
self without enemies, He destroys with His weapons those who 
are the enemies of His devotees. With His disc also, Tie de- 
stroys His devotee's egoism, and with His mace, his attachment 
and ignorance. With His conch, He illuminates his mind with 
the spark of His knowledge, and with the lotus in His hand 
He worships His devotee. What fear of danger can there exist 
for a Devotee, when God has given him such an assurance 
of protection ? (E. B. II. 542 f>45). 

47. Not only is the way of Bhakti easier than the path 

of knowledge, but it is by itself suffi- 

Intellect vs. Love. cient. As the Sun requires no help 

to dispel darkness, Bhakti requires no 

external help to destroy Avidya. Intellectual knowledge is 

unnecessary. Ekanatha illustrates this by the example of 


the milk-maids of Vraja. r l hose ladies were manifestly 
ignorant of any scriptural knowledge. Bub by loving Him, 
and even acting against the injunctions of the Sastras, they 
realised their spiritual goal. In his enthusiasm to show that 
the Gopis could realise God simply through love, Kkanatha 
uses a phraseology which is likely to be misunderstood. He 
describes as if the Vraja milk-maids illegally associated them- 
selves with their paramour, the young adolescent Krishna, 
while He was leading a pastoral life. Let it, however, be 
remembered that this is only imagery. Ekanfitha expressly 
says in the 12thAdhyaya that the Gopis loved him as a 
dutiful wife her husband. The above-mentioned immoral 
imagery is used just to put clearly two factors involved in the 
attempt towards the realisation of divine experience. The 
first is the extraordinary courage which will not be daunted 
to make a holocaust of everything, and the second is the forget- 
f ulness of everything except God. As the paramour forgets 
everything beside the thought of the lover, so a devotee for- 
gets all in thinking about God. That Kkanatha, though 
in word-painting he makes use of this loose language, did not 
mean any immorality, can be proved from two things. In 
the first place, he says that the Vraja ladies were not ordinary 
women : they were Srutis or Vedic hymns incarnate. As 
hymns they were not able to obtain an intuitive, direct per- 
ception of God ; hence they assumed a human form, and real- 
ised God through love. Secondly, he expressly lays down 
that they followed the Lord because they believed that He 
alone had the power to gratify the innermost craving of their 
heart. Thus it was not flesh but spirit that attracted them 
(K. B. XII. 11)1- J 92, 103 166). 

48. In matters worldly as well as spiritual, says Kkauatha, 

the help of the Guru is invaluable, nay, 

The help oi the Guru indispensable. If an aspirant were to 

is invaluable. proceed in these spiritual exercises with a 

complacent self-reliance, his progress is 
sure to be obstructed by many obstacles. Not even God can 
guide him truly. Kkanatha illustrates this by quoting the 
case of Vasudeva, the father of Lord Krishna. Once it so 
happened that Narada visited tlie palatial residence of Vasu- 
deva. Vasudeva duly worshipped him and asked him the wa)' 
to God. Narada was simply amazed. He asked Vasudeva 
why he should ask liim this question when Shrl Krishna was 
already his child. r l hereupon Vasudeva told him his sad 
story. He said that he had formerly prayed to God, who 
was pleased to offer him a boon. But befooled by Divine 


Maya, he requested Him to be his son. Now He was his 
son, but He would not be his spiritual guide. He always 
pleaded ignorance before him, and then there was no help 
for it. The moral of the story is that even in matters of 
spiritual progress, one may please God ; but unless one has 
understood from the Guru what should be asked of God, 
one is likely to go wrong and lose the golden opportunity 
(E. B. III. 80fi 807; II. 85 87). 

49. Here a little difficulty may arise. It might be objected 

that if the Guru is able to give everything 

If Divine Knowledge that the disciple wants, there is no ncccs- 

is communicated by the ity of praying to God at all. Let it be 

Guru, why worship remembered once for all, that without 

God? God's grace a true Spiritual 'readier can 

never be found. In a sense, it might be 
said that the Guru and God are one. And secondly, God 
confers His grace only upon those that have been favoured 
by Saints. This has been clearly expressed by Vasudeva 
to Narada: "0 Narada, thou art the favourite of God. He 
saves those only that are favoured by you.'' Kkanatha has 
very finely described the anxious state of the disciple expecting 
every minute that some. om>. able to save, shall meet him. 
In his anxiety for such a one, ho forgets all enjoyments, 
wanders from place to place to find him somewhere, wor- 
ships him even before he has seen Him, and is lost day and 
night in the thought of a Guru. To such divinely discontent- 
ed souls (Sod reveals Himself in the form of a Guru (E. B. 
XXII. 97 100 ; X. 138). 

50. Ekaimtha tells us often that God's meditation is a 

panacea for all disturbances physical as 
God's meditation is a well as mental, material as well as spiri- 
panacea for all evils, tual. A single moment spent in medi- 
tating upon God can destroy tribulation, 
disease, obstacles, doubts, sin and egoism. All these things 
will vanish before the power of meditation. If it be not 
possible to find out a calm and quiet place, or to secure a 
good posture and meditate, even the constant repetition of 
His Name is able to ward o.T all calamities (K. ]$. XXVIII. 
(H2 020). 

51. In the way of meditation, however, there are four 

pitfalls, against which an aspirant must 

Pitfalls in the path guard himself. r l hoy are: dissipation, 

oi meditation. passion, fickleness and absorption. All 

these are the faults of an unsteady mind. 

To revolve in the mind the sweetness of sense-objects, when 


one is sitting in a meditative posture, is dissipation. To 
attend only to love-stories or descriptions of sexual unions, is 
passion. To pass from one field of consciousness to another, 
and thus to be every moment unsteady like a madman, is 
fickleness. To be inattentive through sad indifference to the 
chief object of meditation, and thus to be ultimately lost in 
sleep, or in blue or yellow colours, is absorption (E. B. XI. 
706 711). 

52. If once (od reveals Himself to the devotee in his 

heart, then that vision cannot be confined 

Experience of God- to the devotee's heart only. He sees God 

realisation. everywhere. (Jod reveals Himself to him 

as the all-pervading Atman, assuming 
various forms. Once He is thus revealed in His true universal 
form, a devotee becomes dead to all world-vision. Once He is 
revealed, the subtle body, the cause of all bondage, perishes 
without a stroke. A gust of strong wind dispels an array of 
clouds, so His spiritual light dispels all desires. With the 
destruction of desires, vanish all doubts and duties. As dark- 
ness cannot stand before the light of the Sun, qualities with 
their effects, Avidya with ignorance, Jiva with Siva, egoism 
with its ties of spirit and matter, all vanish away. Even 
the constant repetition of the formula k I am Brahman' is no 
more to be heard. All fear of birth and death disappears, and 
the stage is reached where the world is not, and (Jod alone 
is. His devotees reach this stage by constantly praying to Him 
(E. B. XX. 374 381). 

53. This experience is true Samadhi. People have mis- 

taken notions about this Brahmic con- 
A True Samadhi. sciousness or Samadhi. Soms believe that 

it is necessarily an actionless stage, charac- 
terised by stiffness of body and absence of speech and motion. 
But really it is not so. If stiffness of body is to be called 
Samadhi, any man who has an attack of apoplexy can well be 
said to have experienced Samadhi. Such a temporary loss of 
consciousness can be brought about by merely holding the 
breath for a few seconds, or even by hypnotism. r lhat is, 
therefore, a mistaken notion of Samadhi. Yajnavalkya, Suka 
and Vamadeva are illustrations of perfect saints whose Brah- 
mic consciousness was in no way tampered with, even when 
they walked and talked and did all manner of things. Narada 
used to cut all sorts of humourous jokes, and yet he was all the 
whilo, living in Brahmic consciousness. Yajnavalkya had 
two wives, but his Samadhi was proved real by the Sages 
of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Why not take the most 


famous illustration of Arjuna ? Lord Krishna blessed Arjuna 
with Brahmic consciousness, and made him fight against 
the Kauravas. In spite of his fight, Arjuna continued to 
occupy the level of Brahmie consciousness. Thus a true 
Samadhi, resulting from the teaching of a. true Spiritual 
'feacher, is entirely compatible with net-ion. It is not a loss 
of consciousness, or motionlessncss, but a constant divine 
experience (B. B. II. 423 432). 

54. A devotee, who has been thus favoured has transcended 

the responsibilities of all the stages of 

Description of a life. Constant association with God is 

Soul that has realised now his duty. Now neither good action, 

God. nor renunciation, nor discrimination can 

bring him any profit. He, who has 
surrendered himself to God, has paid all his debts to deities, 
sages, ancestors, and men. lie, who has clearly understood 
his distinctness from body and senses, can have now no gain 
from the controlling of his senses. To him, who has truly 
realised God, no higher gain can be obtained by constant 
meditation on Him. He is merged in Brahmic conscious- 
ness, even when he is enjoying nil sense-objects (K. B. XVII. 
389 31)1 ; XXV1IT. 323 329). 

55. Who has the power to frighten this servant of God ? 

When, with tTis burning disc, God in 

Who can frighten a person is ready to guard His devotee, 

God's Servant? who can attack him? No obstacle can 

present itself before him. He, who saved 

Prahlada from the clutches of hi^ demoniac father, will never 

allow a hair of His devotee's body to be touched. If God 

Himself obeys His devotee, what can bring difficulties in his 

path ? All fear has left him for good. In him the very gods 

find a Tower of Strength (K. B. XXTIT. 446 451). 

56. Such perfect souls, however, are very rare. In this 

wide world, only by rare chance may it 
Such men are rare. be possible for one to meet such a man". 

Kqually rare is he who is gifted with the 
vision to recognise such a man, if chance but puts him in his 
way (K. B. XXII. fi7J) TF( ). 

General Review. 

There are certain characteristics which mark off the saints 
of this period from those of the preceding 

The Chief Charac and the forthcoming ages. In the first 
teristics of the Age of place, there is to be seen among the 
Ekanatha. saints of this period a unique reconciliation 

of \\orldly and spiritual life, unattained 
cither before or afterwards. For example, as we have already 
pointed out, Janardana Swarm and Kkanatha were types of 
saints who did not extricate themselves from worldly life. 
Janardana Swam I was a fighter and a saint ; Ekanatha was a 
householder and a saint. In this reconciliation of worldly 
and spiritual life, Ekanatha accomplished what had not been 
accomplished either by Jnanadeva or Namadeva before him, 
or by Tukarama and Ramadasa after him. Jnanadeva and 
Kamadfisa had no wives and children, and so we cannot say 
that they ever reconciled the worldly and the spiritual life. 
Namadeva and Tukarama had wives and children, but, as in 
the case of Spinoza, God was to them a great lion's den to 
which all steps pointed, but from which none returned. They 
were so absorbed in Clod that nothing else was of any value 
to them. Not so with. Ekanatha. lie observed the Aris- 
totelian mean in all things, was a man in whose life the prin- 
ciple of right judgment could be seen to have predominated 
at every moment. Kkanatha's life was unique, and he derived 
this tact in no small measure from his teacher Janardana 
Swfuni himself. In the second place, at this period, we see 
a popularisation of Vedfinta accomplished to an extent which 
was never known before. Jnanadeva's philosophy, like his 
language, was somewhat abstruse. Tt had also clothed itself 
in an antique garb, which prevented people from adjudging 
it at its proper value. Not so with Ekanatha. Kkanatha's 
teachings, whether in his work on the, Bhagavata, or in his 
heart-felt Abhahgas, were such as could be appreciated by the 
populace. It was principally Ekanatha who made the ideas 
of Vedanta familiar to the men in the street. With Jnanadeva, 
philosophy had reigned in the clouds ; with Ekanatha, it 
came upon the earth and dwelt among men. As we may see 
from the account of the various philosophical principles which 
he enunciates so lucidly in his great commentary on the Bhaga- 
vata, Ekanatha had attained to a stage of exposition so simple, 
so lucid, and so popular, that nobody before his time, or no- 
body after him ? has ever been equally successful in presenting 


philosophy in such a popular manner. In the third place, the 
most distinguishing feature of Ekanatha as a Marathi writer is 
his great love and respect for the language in which he wrote. 
It is the Saints of the Maharashtra school, and most 
particularly Jiianadeva, Ekanatha and Jiamadasa, who laid es- 
pecial stress upon conveying their ideas in the simple verna- 
cular, instead of in Sanskrit in which latter it was customary 
for the Pandits to clothe their thoughts. Jiianadeva first, 
Ekanatha afterwards, and Eamadasa last, broke away from this 
tradition of the erudite Pandits, took to the vernacular as 
a means of expounding their thoughts, and thus could appeal 
to the lowest rungs of the Maratha society. Prof. Patwar- 
dlian has stated the service which Ekanatha did to tEe" cause 
orUarathi literature in the following way: "The partisans 
of Sanskrit were still very powerful, and the contempt for 
Marathi was still rank and rampant. But it was not for name 
and fame among the Pandits that Ekanatha wrote. It was 
for the diffusion of Truth and Light among the illiterate, among 
women and Sudras, that Ekanatha wrote. He scorned the 
scorn of the learned, and championed the voiceless millions, 
espousing the cause of the vernaculars. He too had to light 
the battle of the vernacular, as we in these days of greater 
enlightenment and consequent deeper darkness have to wage. 
Marathi was the language of the illiterate and the vulgar, 
and one versed in Sanskrit lore ought not to have anything 
to do with it. It was degradation. That was the view of the 
learned in those days, just as nearly as of the so-called edu- 
cated in these days. Ekanatha, like his great predecessor, 
cared not a jot for these considerations. His heart went out 
to the spiritually blind and mute, and he knew that the way 
to reach them was to approach them through their own 
mother tongue. He faced all opposition : answered the sum- 
mons of the learned in Kasi, endured his trial before that 
tribunal foT the crime of rendering the sacred words of the 
Bhagavata into the language of the Sudras : and with his 
courage and powers of persuasion, he came out unscathed. 
Jiianadeva was proud of Marathi. Prouder still was Ekanatha." 



Ekanatha asks very often "if Sanskrit was made by Jjipd, was 
Prakrit born of thieves and knaves ? Let these errings of 
yanit^alpjie. Whether it is Sanskrit or Prakrit, wherever the 
story of God is told, it is essentially holy and must be respected 

God is no partisan of tongues. To Him Prakrit and 

Sanskrit are alike. My language, Marathi, is worthy of ex- 
pressing the highest sentiments, and is rich-laden with the 
fruits of divine knowledge." We can see thus how Ekanatha 
occupies not merely a high place among the saints of Maha- 
rashtra, but also among its great poets. 

The Age of Tukarama : Personalistic Mysticism. 


Biographical Introduction : Tukarama. 

1. It is an unfortunate thing that, in spite of much re- 

search, there should still be a difference 
The date of Tuka- of opinion about the dates of the birth 
rama's passing away, and death of a celebrated saint like Tuka- 
rama. It may be said, however, that the 
date of Tukarama's passing away is a little more definite than 
that of his birth. In an MS. of Tukarama's Gatha, which is 
preserved at Dehu, the place of Tukarama's birth and death, 
the date of his passing away is given as ] 649 A.D. (Sake 1571) ; 
while in the copy of Tukarama's Gatha written by Balaji, the 
son of Santajl Jaganade, the famous disciple of Tukarama, the 
date of Tukarama's passing away is given as 1650 A.D. (Sake 
IT 72). Tt is to be noted, however, that the date on which 
Tukarama passed off is generally recognised to be Phalguna 
Vadya 2, Thursday. Now Phalguna Vadya 2 does not fall 
on Thursday in 1649 A.D. (Sake 1571), but in 1650 A.D. 
(Sake 1572). Hence the greater probability of 1650 A.D. 
(Sake 1572) being the date of Tukarama's passing away from 
this life. 

2. As regards Tukarama's birth, there are four different 

theories: (1) Mr. Rajavade relying upon 

Theories about the the entry in an MS. of the Gatha with a 

date of Tukarama's Varkari at Vai, fixes upon Sake 1490 

birth. (1568 A.D.) as the date of Tukarama's 

birth. Moreover, he quotes an Abhanga 
of one Mahipati that Tukarama was initiated about thirty 
years after Babaji's passing away. The main argument 
against Rajavade's date is that if we are to suppose that 
Tukarama was born in 1568 A.D. (Sake 1490), he must have 
been eighty-two years of age at the time when he passed away, 
that is, in 1650 A.D. (Sake 1572), and we know that it is a 
historical fact that when Tukarama died, his wife, who was 
only seven or eight years younger than himself, was pregnant, 
and that later she gave birth to Narayana, who was thus 
Tukarama's posthumous son. Now we could not ordinarily 
suppose that a son could be born to a man at the age of eighty- 
two. Hence, Mr. Rajavade's date cannot be regarded as very 
convincing. Rajavade says that if his date were to be regarded 
as true, then we can very well explain how Tukarama was 


initiated in Sake 1520 (1598 A.D.) on Magha Suddha 10 ; which 
is a Thursday. (2) Mr. Bhave argues from this date of Tuka- 
rama's initiation, namely, Sake 1520 (1598 A.D.), Magha 
Suddha 10, which was a Thursday, backwards to about twenty- 
one years, when, according to him, Tukarama was born, which 
gives us the date 1577 A.D. (Sake 1499). Bhave thus relies 
upon 1598 A.I). (Sake 1520) as an absolutely reliable date of 
Tukarama's initiation, and deduces all other dates from it. 
(3) Mr. Pangarakar tries to prove that the famine referred to 
in Tukarama's Abhangas must be taken to be in 1629 A.D. 
(Sake 1551), and that very soon later Tukarama was initiated, 
namely, in Sake 1554 (1632 A.D.) on Magha Suddha 10, which 
also was a Thursday. Also, Pangarakar relies upon Mahi- 
pati's evidence that half of Tukarama's life had been spent 
before the time of the famine, and the remaining half later, 
from which fact he goes back twenty-one years and comes to 
1608 A.D. (Sake 1530) as the date of Tukarama's birth. Now 
these dates, namely, Sake 1530, 1551, 1554 as the dates of 
Tukarama's birth, of the famine, and of the initiation, are not 
impossible ones. But it must be remembered that Pangarakar, 
on the evidence of Mahipati, conceives Tukarama's life to 
be divided exactly into two half portions at 1551. Probably 
what Mahipati meant was that ' about ' a half of Tukarama's 
life and not exactly a half was spent at the time of the famine. 
Moreover, it must be remembered that Mahipati lived about 
125 years later than Tukarama, and that sufficient time elap- 
sed between the two to allow some legends to grow about the 
life of Tukarama. Moreover, if we take 1608 A.D. (Sake 
1530) as the date of Tukarama's birth, Tukarama becomes a 
very short-lived man, that is, he was only forty-two years of 
age at the time of his passing away, and thus we cannot very 
well explain the reference to old age sru ^gofi *rpff anaft *fir 
in Tukarama's Abhangas except in a vicarious fashion. (4) 
We thus come to a fourth date as not an improbable date of 
Tukarama's birth. It is 1598 A.D. (Sake 1520) as given in the 
family chronologies of Tukarama both at Dehu and Paridhanv- 
pur. Now it is true that in these chronologies it is also told 
that the date of birth was Magha Suddha 5, Ihursday. Now 
the fact that Magha Suddha 5, Thursday, does not occur in 
1598 A.D. (Sake 1520) must not make us suppose, as Pan- 
garakar says, that Sake 1520 is an impossible date. The 
vagaries of calculation according to the Indian almanac are 
proverbial. Besides, if we are to give up either 1520 or Magha 
Suddha 5, Thursday, we had rather give up the second by all 
means. It must be remembered, however, that this date, 


namely, Sake 1520, is sanctioned by the family chronologies 
of Tukarama both at Dehu and Pandharapur, and that it 
accounts for the reference in Tukarama's Abhangas to his 
old age, and yet does not make Tukarama too old at the time of 
his death. As to the year again, when the famine took place 
and when Tukarama was initiated, as we have pointed out 
above, we need not go to 1629 A.D. (Sake 1551) as the only 
year of famine. T here are famines in India every now and then, 
and it is not impossible that some famine near Sake 1541 would 
have been meant. 1632 A.D. (Sake 1554) as the date of 
Tukarama's initiation could then be brought back to 1619 A.D. 
(Sake 1541), on which there was Thursday on Magha Suddha 
10. It thus seems probable that Tukarama having been born 
in 1598 A.D. (Sake 1520), experienced a dire famine some time 
before 1619 A.D. (Sake 1541), when he lost his wife and trade, 
became sorrow-stricken, and gave himself up'to the contempla- 
tion of God, when in Sake 1541 (1619 A.D.) on Magha Suddha 
10, Thursday, he was initiated by Babaji in a dream. Thus 
Tukarama's earlier life of twenty-one years having been spent 
in Samsara, the remaining thirty-one years, namely, from 1619 
A.D. to 1650 A.D. (Sake 1541 to 1572) were spent in Para- 
martha. Thus we can provide for a reasonably long time for 
the seed of Tukarama's spiritual teaching to sprout, to flower, 
and to fructify. The 21 years before initiation and the 31 
years after initiation do not balance against each other as half 
and half ; but what we have to understand from Mahipati is 
that the life of Tukarama was divided into two portions, the 
earlier and the later, the earlier having been given to worldly 
matters and tl.e later to spiritual. 

3. The main incidents in Tukarama's life may now be 

briefly recapitulated. Tukarama was born 

Incidents in the life SL. 1398 A - ]) - (& ake 1520), and about 

of Tukaram. 1613 A.D. (Sake 1535), Tukarama was 

married. It is well known that he had 
two wives : one Kakhumabai, and the other Jijabai. Soon 
afterwards his parents died. Tukarama suffered a loss in 
trade. His first wife Hakhumabai died for want of food in a 
dire famine. His son named Santu also died. Tukarama 
now went to Bhambanatha and Bhandara and other places, 
and gave himself up to spiritual reading. In Sake 
1541 (1619 A.D.), on Magha Suddha 10, Thursday, he 
was initiated by his (Juru Babaji in a dream. We can see 
how Tukarama must have experienced the dark night of 
the soul, and ultimately have come to Hod- vision. After 
having realised God, he taught others the same instruction 


in his Kirtanas. He usually performed Kirtanas at Dehu, 
Lohagaon and Poona. He was hated by Ramesvarabhatta, 
who, however, later became his disciple. He was also scorn- 
fully treated by Mambaji Gosavl, who also later repented. 
Tukarama's wife was a Xantippe, often quarrelled with her 
husband, told him that he was doing no work to maintain 
his family, and snarled when Tukarama received all sorts of 
guests and gave himself to spiritual Kirtanas. Tukarama 
suffered all these things in patience. He continued to preach 
the secret of spiritual life to those who assembled around him. 
Before he died, Tukarama probably met both Sivaji and 
Ramadasa. Sivaji had passed his teens at the time, and had 
already taken Torana, and was trying to found a Maratha 
kingdom. Tukarama directed Sivaji to have the spiritual 
instruction of Ramadasa. Tukarama also probably met 
Ramadasa when the latter had gone to Pandharapur to visit 
the temple of Vitthala. Having led an intensely spiritual life, 
Tukarama passed away in Sake 1572 (1650 A.D.), Phalguna 
Vadya 2. There is a story told that Tukarama ascended to 
heaven with his body. This is to be credited only as little 
as or as much as the ascension of Christ. The story must 
have originated in the fact that there is no Samadhi of Tuka- 
rama built anywhere. 1 here is a Samadhi of Jfianadeva, 
there is a Samadhi of Ramadasa, there is a Samadhi of Eka- 
natha, there is a Samadhi of Namadeva, but there is no 
Samadhi of Tukarama either in Dehu or at any other place. 
r j his is probably the reason why Tukarama has been supposed 
to have ascended bodily to heaven. The philosophical meaning 
of the story seems to be that Tukarama was liberated before 
death by virtue of his Cod- vision, or that his very body had 
become divine in the process of God-contemplation. 

4. r i here are a few points in the life-history of Tukarama 

which we must now disentangle with some 

The making of rarc - ' h e question has been asked as 

Tukarama's Mind. to who exercised the greatest amount of 

influence in the formation of the mind of 
Tukarama. In the first place, it must be noted that the direct 
impulse to spiritual life must have come to Tukarama from 
his spiritual teacher Babaji. There are some historical things 
known about Babaji and his line. Tukarama himself tells us 
that his spiritual line may be traced from Raghava Chaitanya 
to Kesava Chaitanya and to Babaji Chaitanya. Bahinabai, 
one of " Tukarama's greatest disciples, who had seen him 
and had lived under his instruction, tells us that Raghava 
Chaitanya was a spiritual descendant of Sachchidananda 


Baba, who was himself a disciple of Jnanadeva. From this, it 
may be seen that Tukarama came directly in the spiritual 
line of Jiianadeva. Now, Bahinabai's evidence in this respect 
must be considered as more authoritative than the evidence 
either of Niloba or Mahipati, as she lived in Tukarama's 
presence, and Tukarama must have probably told Bahinabal 
that- Raghava Chaitariya was spiritually descended from 
Jnanadeva. Then, again, as regards the historical evidence 
for these Chaitanyas, there is a work called Chaitanya- 
kathakalpataru written in 1787 A.D. (Sake 1709), and based 
upon another work referred to in that book by Krishnadasa 
in 1674 A.I). (Sake 1596), i.e.. only twenty-five years after the 
death of Tukarama. There, we are told that Raghava Chaitanya 
lived in Uttama-nagari, that is to say, in modern Otura, on 
the banks of the Pushpavati, known also as Kusumavati, 
which may be seen running into the river Kukadi. Raghava 
Chaitanya initiated one Visvanatha Chaitanya, and called him 
Kesava Chaitanya. Some people identify Kesava Chaitanya 
with Babaji Chaitanya, while others say that they were two 
different persons. In any case, it is clear that Tukarama men- 
tions the name of his own spiritual teacher as Babaji. Next in 
importance to the receiving of spiritual instruction from Babaji, 
Tukarama refers to four different persons as having peculiarly 
contributed to the formation of his spiritual life. There is a 
famous Abhanga of Tukarama, to be uttered in tune with the 
sound of a Tipari, where Tukarama tells us reiteratingly =5ftaNt 
<rft '4K flR \ "at least follow these four". These four are, 
first Namadeva, the boy of a tailor, who played without fal- 
tering ; then, Jnanadeva, who with brothers and sister danced 
around God ; then Kabira, the disciple of Ramananda, 
who was a worthy partner to these ; and finally, Ekanatha, 
the child of a Brahmin, who gathered about him a number 
of devotees. These played, says Tukarama, the game of spiri- 
tual life, and the game never affected them. Thus, we see, 
that Tukarama calls our mind to the teachings of these four 
great saints, indicating probably that his own mind was spe- 
cially influenced by them. We can see from the account 
we have given of the relation between Jnanadeva and Tuka- 
rama in what high respects Tukarama had held Jnanadeva. 
As regards Tukarama's relation to Namadeva, the only meaning 
in the story that calls Tukarama an incarnation of Namadeva 
is that the spiritual methods of the two were probably one. 
When Prof. Patwardhan says that Namadeva appears to put 
more sentiment in his Abhangas, while Tukarama surpasses 
him in logical consistency ; that while Namadeva is more 


emotional, Tukarama is more intellectual, we do not think that 
he represents the case accurately. Tukarama is so much like 
Namadeva and both go so much by emotion, that we see that 
they leave no room whatsoever for philosophical argument. 
JFor that matter, we may say that Jnanadeva is more intellec- 
tual than either Namadeva or Tukarama. But between 
Namadeva and Tukarama, there is nothing to choose, so far 
as the life of emotion and the life of mystical experience which 
transcends all philosophical arguments are concerned. As 
Regards Ekanatha, we know how Tukarama had dived into the 
Bhagavata of Kkanatha, and had committed the Bhagavata 
like the Jnanesvari almost to memory. r l hus, it is not untrue 
to say, as Mr. Pangarakar has pointed out, that the Gita, 
the Bhagavata, the Jnanesvari, the Commentary of Ekanatha 
on the Bhagavata, and the Abhafigas of Namadeva peculiarly 
moulded 1 ukarama\s spiritual life. AY hen the influence of 
the thoughts of these writers was added to the spiritual in- 
struction which he had received from his master, upon both 
of which he pondered in solitude, resigning his mind to (*od 
in the utterance of His name, it is no wonder that the outcome 
should be that of a very mature soul like Tukarama, who not 
merely realised God himself, but brought (Jod-realisation 
within the easy reach of all. 

5. There is another point in the life-history of Tukarama 

which is also well worth noticing, namely 

Tukarama, Sivaji and his meeting with Sivaji and Rfimadasa. 

Ramadasa. ^ we consider carefully the dates when 

Tukarama passed away, namely 1650 
A.D. (Sake 1572), when Ramadasa came to settle on the banks 
of the Krishna, namely 1634 A.I). (Sake 1 55(5), and when SivajT 
captured the Torana Fort, namely 1649 A.D. (Sake 1571), 
thus bidding fair to become the king of Maharashtra later on, 
it is not impossible that Tukarama might have met both 
Kamadasa and Sivaji. If the tradition were merely a tradition 
unsupported by any documentary evidence, we would have 
consented to allow the meeting to be regarded as well-nigh- 
legendary. But we have certain Abhangas which are sup- 
posed to have been composed by Tukarama for the sake of 
Sivaji, which will not allow us to regard the meeting 
as entirely unhistorical. Tukarama performed his Kirtanas at 
Dehu, as well as at Lohagaon. Now Poona is situated just 
between Dehu and Lohagaon, and Sivaji had already a lodg- 
ment at Poona. Hence, it is not impossible that Sivaji might 
have gone to Tukarama, seen him, and expressed a desire 
to be initiated by him. But, Tukarama with foresight 


probably sent Sivaji to Ramadasa. Some of the Abhangas of 
Tukarama addressed to Sivaji have been translated in the 
next chapter. Here, we may just give a glimpse of how 
Tukarama once expatiated upon the theme of heroism, both 
worldly and spiritual, which was also, in all probability, meant 
for Sivaji. 1 he Abhangas are known as ii^ffT^ srw, 
Abhangas of soldiery or heroism. Tukarama tells us that a 
hero is a hero both in worldly as well as in spiritual matters. 
"Without heroism, misery cannot disappear. Soldiers must 
become reckless of their lives, and then (Jod takes up their 

burden He who bravely faces volleys of arrows and shots 

and defends his master, can alone reap eternal happiness 

He alone, who is a soldier, knows a soldier, and has respect 
for him. They, who bear weapons only for the sake of bodily 
maintenance, are mere mercenaries. The true soldier alone 
stands the test of critical occasions." This Abhanga has 
been supposed to have been composed by Tukarama with the 
object of comparing the worldly soldier with the spiritual 
soldier. r l hen, again, as regards Tukarama having met Rama- 
dasa at Pandharapur, it is true that we have no documentary 
evidence, as we have in the case of Tukarama and Sivaji. 
But we know very well how Ramadasa had established himself 
on the banks of the Kiishna in 1044 A.T). (Sake 15GG), that is 
to say, about six years before Tukarama's death, and how 
Ramadasa once visited Pandharapur and composed a song 
telling us that God Vitthala and Kama were identical. It 
would be a strange thing if Tukarama and Ramadasa, being 
the two greatest saints of Maharashtra at the time, should not 
have met each other. r l he ' story ' is not entirely meaning- 
less which tells us that Ramadasa and Tukarama met at 
Pandharapur on the opposite banks of the river Bhima, the 
one weeping and the other bawling, and when their respective 
disciples asked them the meaning of these strange gestures, 
Tukarama replied that he wept because people were so 
much merged in worldly matters that they would not know 
that the way out lay in the realisation of (iod ; while Rama- 
dasa said that he bawled out because in spite of his bawling 
out, people would not hear his spiritual cry. r l he story only 
serves to rule out the improbability of the two of the greatest 
saints of Sivaji's time not having met each other, and it would 
be an irony of fate if the tender-minded and the tough -minded 
saints had not met, and exchanged their thoughts with one 

6. Tukarama had a distinguished galaxy of disciples, all 
absolutely devoted and full of admiration for him. Santaji 


Tell, who was one of the greatest disciples of Tukararna, 
was a writer of Tukarama's Abhangas, along with Gangarama 
Mavala, who was another. The MS. of 
He disciples of Santajl Tell has been preserved to this 
tukarama. day, and has been published by Mr. 

Bhave. Ramesvarabhatta, whose ances- 
tors were residents of the Karnataka, had come and settled in 
the district of Poona, and he worshipped his tutelary deity, 
namely, the Vyaghresvara at Vagholi. He was given too 
much to priestly pride and ritualism, but was later converted 
from this barren life to a spiritualistic life by Tukarama. 
Sivaba Kasara, who lived in Lohagaon, first hated Tukarama, 
but later became an ardent admirer of him. Ib was his wife, 
who, having been displeased with her husband for having 
become a disciple of Tukarama, once poured hot water on the 
body of Tukarama while he had once gone to Lohagaon. 
Mahadajipant, the Kulkarni of Dehii, was a very honest and 
straightforward disciple of Tukarama, who spent on the re- 
building of the temple of Vitthala at Dehu every pie out of 
the extra proceeds of a farm which had been given to 
Tukarama by his employer, but which he had refused to ac- 
cept. Niloba, who was perhaps the greatest of Tukarama's 
disciples, is said to have been initiated by Tukarama in a 
dream in the year 1(578 A.J). (Sake 1000). He lived at Pim- 
palaner, and continued the Varkarl tradition of Tukarama. 
Bahinabal, whose Abhangas have been recently discovered 
and printed, was a resident of Siur, and had seen Tukarama 
personally. Her account of Tukarama's spiritual lineage 
has been already noticed by us as being of great historical 
value, and as Pangarakar tells us, she later came under the 
influence of Itaniad&sa, who gave her an image of Maruti 
which is still worshipped in Bahinabai's household. These 
constitute the greatest of the disciples of Tukarama. 

7. There are various collations called Gathas of the Abhan- 
gas of Tukarama, of which we must quote 
Editions ol the Gathas here four of the most important. The ex- 
of Tukarama. position of Tukarama's mystical career and 

teaching, given in the later chapters, fol- 
lows closely the numbering of the Abhangas in the edition of 
Vishnubuva Jog, who published his 1st edition of the Oath a of 
Tukarama in two volumes in ] 909 A .D. (Sake 1 831), which is in 
fact the first and the only attempt in Marathi of presenting the 
original with a translation. Besides, Vishiiubuva Jog spent 
his life in studying the Abhangas of Tukarama, and was well 
respected among the Varkaris at Panolharapur. He had an 


open mind, and was perhaps the greatest and the most 
enlightened among the Varkarls during the last quarter of the 
century. The second collection of Tukarama's Abhahgas is 
the edition called the Induprakasa edition, which was printed 
by the Government of Bombay with the help of Mr. S.P. Pandit 
in I860 A.D. This is a very careful collation of the various 
recensions of Tukarama's tiathas based upon the MSS. at 
Dehu, Talegaon, Kadusa and Pandharapur. Frascr and 
Marathe's translation of Tukarama's Uathas follows this edi- 
tion in point of numbering. A third edition is that of Mr. 
H. N. Apte, printed at the Aryabhushana Press according 
to the MS. in the possession of the Badaves of Pandharapur. 
This is an edition which has got much traditional value, be- 
cause the Varkarls perform their Bhajana according to the 
readings of that edition. Fourthly, Mr. Bhave has recently 
published an edition of r l ukarama's "real Gatha" as he calls 
it, which consists of thirteen hundred Abhangas according to 
the MS. of Santaji Jagamlde. There is no doubt that this is 
a very authentic collection, but it is also likely that it is not 
a complete collection. r \ he other editions of Tukarama's 
Abhangas which have been printed will not interest our 
readers very much, and so we refrain from giving any 
account of them. Our order of exposition* follows, for the 
sake of the numbering ol' the Abhangas, the edition of 
Vishnubuva Jog which we have above referred to, and which 
we heartily recommend to our readers for the sake of the 
Marathi original and the translation. 

* Recently, a Source-book of Tukarama's Abhangas has been pub- 
lished by us, which gives ferittftm the Abhangas referred to in our ex- 
position of Tukarama in the next two chapters. 

Tukarama's Mystical Career. 

I. Historical Events in his Life. 

1. A faithful account of Tukarama's mystical develop- 

ment as traced through his Abhangas is a 
Introductory. subject hitherto unattempted, in the first 

place, because Tukarama has left to us 
quite a large number of Abhangas, and in the second place, 
because it is really a difficult thing to trace through his Abhan- 
gas the order of his developing mystical experience. Yet an 
attempt has been made here to essay this difficult task 
with what success we leave our readers to judge. We shall 
try to present the account of Tukarama's spiritual deve- 
lopment in his own words, which will leave our readers free 
to form any conclusions they like in regard to the value of 
the data for the comparison of Tukarama's spiritual experi- 
ence with that of the great mystics of the West. 

2. We shall begin by giving an account oE Tukarama's 

description of his own initiation. Tuka- 
Thc occasion of Tuka- rama tells us that he was initiated by 
rama's initiation. his spiritual teacher in a dream : " I 
imagined I met him while he was going 
to the river for a holy bath. He placed his hand upon my 
head, and asked me to give him some ghee for his meals. 
Unfortunately, being in a dream, 1 could not give it to him. 
An obstacle having thus apparently arisen, my spiritual teacher 
hastened away. He told me his spiritual lineage, namely, 
that it had come from Raghava Chaitanya and Kcsava Chai- 
tanya. He told me also his own name which was Babaji, 
and gave me the Mantra * Rama, Knshria, Hari' for medita- 
tion. As it was the 10th day of the bright half of Magha, 
and as, moreover, it was a Thursday (a day sacred to the Guru), 
I accepted the Mantra with the whole of my heart" (Abg. 
3427). Now this Bfibaji, who was the teacher of Tukarama, 
has his Samadhi at Otur, and one does not know whether 
Babaji was actually living at the time of Tukarama. In any 
case, Tukarama tells us that he got his initiation in a dream, 
and with that his spiritual career began : " Verily, my teacher 
being cognisant of the aspirations of my heart bestowed upon 
me a Mantra I loved so well, and a Mantra also which was so 
easy to utter. Verily, there can be no difficulty in the uttering 
of that Mantra. By that Mantra, have many, who have gone 


from amongst us, crossed the ocean of life. To those who 
know, and to those who do not know, the Alantra has served 
as a raft to enable them to cross the ocean of life. Verily, 
I was put in possession of this raft there is no limit to the 
grace of Cod Paiuluranga ! " (Abg. 3428). 

3. Tukarama was born of a poor family in the caste of the 
Kunabis, that is to say, farmers. He 

Tukarama's family feels glad that he was born a Kunabi ; 

lineage. otherwise, he says, he would have died 

with arrogrance. "Well done, () d!od ! 

Tukarama dances and touches Thy feet. Had I been a learned 

man, T would have brought calamities on me ; would have 

scorned the service of the saints; would have been 

subject to pride and arrogance ; would only have gone by the 
way by which other people have gone to the Hades. Great- 
ness and arrogance would surely have brought me to hell" 
(Abg. 178). He tells us also that throughout his family line- 
age, he has been a Varkari of Pandhari: "1 have inherited 
this practice of going to a pilgrimage to Pandhari from my 
ancestors. I recognise no other pilgrimage, and no other vow. 
My only vow is to make a fast on the Kkadasi day, and to sing 
the name of (Jod. I shall utter the name of (Jod, which is 
verily what will last to the end of time"' (Abg. 1S99). 

4. As is often the case with the mystics, Tukarama experi- 
enced every kind of difficulty in his 

Tukarama's family life. ''What shall I eat, ami where shall 
difficulties. ' g () On whose support should I count 
and live in my village ( The Patel of my 
village, as well as its other residents, have grown angry with 
me. Who will give me alms ( People will say that I have lost 
touch with the world, and will drag me to the court. I have 
gone to the good people in my village, and have told them 
that these people are pursuing a poor man like myself. Verily, 
I am tired of the company of these people. I shall now go 
and find out Vitthala ' (Abg. 291)5). Added to the forlorn- 
ness in his village, Tukarama experienced every difficulty 
within his family. His estate was all sold. Famine made 
havoc in his family. ut By repentance, 1 am now remembering 
Thee. Life seems to me like vomit. Happy am I that my 
wife is a termagant. Happy am I that I have lost all repu- 
tation. Happy, that I have been disrespected by men. Happy, 
that 1 have lost all my cattle. Well it is that I have ceased 
to be ashamed among men. Well it is that 1 have come as a 
supplicant to r l hee, () CJod ! Well it is that I built a temple 
to Thee, and neglected my children and wife " (Abg. 


3941). Tukarama's wife was so much exasperated at the de- 
meanour of Tukarama, and particularly at the very kind 
way in which he treated his saintly guests, that she began 
to exclaim : " Why is it that people come to our house ? Have 
they no business of their own ? .For the sake of God, my hus- 
band has entered into relationship with the whole world. 
Indeed, he^is put to no trouble for speaking mere good words. " 
"My wife," says Tukarama, Sloes not like any of these things, 
and runs after my guests like a mad dog" (Abg. 3489). " Verily, 
saints have no business here, " says the wife of Tuka, " they can 
get food without doing any work. Every man that meets me 
beats the Tala, and creates a spiritual hubbub. These people 
are as good as dead, and have bade good-bye to shame. 
They do not look so much as to the means of maintaining 
themselves. Iheir wives cry in despair, and curse these peo- 
ple" (Abg. 3491). r lhe whole array of calamities now befell 
Tukarama. His father died, and he probably began to expe- 
rience anxiety for his maintenance, as he had never done before. 
One of his wives died of starvation, and Tuka believed that she 
got absolution. His child died, and Tuka was glad that God 
deprived him of the cause of unreal affection. His mother 
died, and Tuka bade good-bye to all anxieties forever. These 
incidents only served to increase the love of Tuka for Clod. 
"Between us two," says Tuka to (Jod, "nobody now inter- 
venes to create an artificial barrier" (Abg. 394). All these 
things he took to be the indications of God's favour on him. 
"(Jod shall never help His devotee to carry on his worldly 
existence in an easy manner, but would ward off every source 
of affection. If He were to make His devotee fortunate, 
that would serve merely to make him arrogant. Hence it is 
that God strikes His devotee with poverty. Were He to give 
him a good wife, his affections would be centred on her. Hence 
God endows His devotee with a termagant. Verily, I have 
personally experienced all these things, says Tuka. Why 
need I speak about these matters to others?" (Abg. 2224). 
5. While he was experiencing such difficulties, Tuka had 
on another occasion another dream, in 
Namadeva's com- which Namadeva, the saint of Pardhara- 
mand to Tukarama to pur, who had lived about three hundred 
compose poetry. years before the age of Tukarama, ap- 

peared before him, and ordered him bo 
compose poetry. "Namadeva aroused me in my dream 
and came in the company of God. He told me that I 
should not mis-direct my words, but should give myself 
to composing poetry. He told me to measure poems, 


telling me that God was counting the measure. He patted 
me on the back, and made me conscious of my mission. He 
told me also that the numbers of Abhangas to be composed 
was a hundred crores all told. What part of this number 
had been unattempted by Namadeva, Tuka made good by his 
own composition" (Abg. 3937). We know how Namadeva 
had taken a vow that he would compose altogether a hundred 
crores of Abhangas. But as he entered Samadhi before 
that number was reached, he entrusted the mission of composing 
the rest to Tukarama. The number seems fabulous, but the 
meaning is that Tuka only carried on the mission of the spiri- 
tual elevation of Maharashtra through literature, which Nama- 
deva had set before him. Tukarama felt glad that he saw 
(Jod in a dream on account of Namadeva. "If thou allowest 
me, () Cod, 1 shall live in Thy company, or in the company 
of the Saints. I have left off a place, which otherwise I would 
have desired. Be not now indifferent to me, Cod! How- 
soever low my place, howsoever mean my vocation, I shall 
take rest on r l hy feet. 1 have verily seen '1 hee in a dream on 
account of Namadeva, and shall ever consider it a blessing 
upon me" (Abg. 3938). In this way, Tukarama was conscious 
of the great obligation which Namadeva had conferred upon 
him by bringing (Jod along with him in his dream. It was also 
on account of tins incident that Tuka was inspired to compose 
his lyrical poems. u I have composed poetry according to my 
lights/' says Tuka. u Whether it is good or bad, (Jod only 
knows. For whom and on whose behoof these Abhangas 
have been created, (Jod alone knows, because they are His 
own handiwork. J, for myself, extricate myself from 
egoism, throw my entire burden upon (.Jod, and rest content" 
(Abg. 3385). 

6. When a number of poems had been composed, and when 

apparently Tuka was highly spoken of 

Tukarama's great by the people of his village, he incurred 

sorrow at his poems the anger of those who were to all appear- 

being thrown into the ances more learned than he, and who 

r i ver . therefore conspired to ruin the poetical 

reputation of Tuka. Once upon a time 
they caught hold of 1 ukarama's poems, and threw them into 
the river Indrayani. Tukarama felt extremely sorry at chis 
sad turn which events had taken. He determined to try his 
luck, and invoked God to restore his poems to him, and in case 
this would not happen, he determined to commit suicide. 
" Why shall T compose poems any longer ? Must 1 not be asham- 
ed of doing so ? Saints will verily laugh at me. Now has 



come the time when God must give the decision. Truth alone 
must prevail. Why should one undertake any work at all 
without having the backing of realisation ? 1 can no longer 
maintain courage. A great ruffle has been produced in me" 
(Abg. 3505). Tukarama thus determined to make a fast, until 
he received an assurance from God that his work was appre- 
ciated by Him. He continued his fasting penance for thirteen 
days, and did not partake of even a drop of water. "It is 
thirteen days, () God, that I have remained without food and 
drink. r J hou art yet so unkind as not to give me any assurance 
even after this long period. Thou art hiding Thyself behind 
a stone image. Now, verily 1 shall commit suicide and hold 
Thee responsible for it ; for long have I waited to receive an 
assurance ; but in its absence, 1 shall now destroy my life" 

(Abg. 1731). God could wait no longer and see the 

great agonies in which Tuka was merged. He made His 
appearance to him in the form of a youthful image, so Tuka 
tells us, and gave him comfort and assurance. 

7. The Abhangas which Tukarama composed on that 

occasion have been left to us by Tukarama 

God's appearance and himself, and we shall give them here in 

Tukarama's thanks- the very words in which Tuka has left 

giving. them: "Thou, my God, who followest 

us poor men as the shadow the body, 
earnest near me like a youth, and gavcst comfort 
to me. You showed me your beautiful form, embraced me, 

and pacified my mind Verily have f troubled you for 

nothing. Forgive me, my God. 1 shall never cause you 
trouble any more'" 1 (Abg. 3522). "1 committed a great fault, 
because 1 have taxed your patience- . . . Mean creature that 
I am, I shut my eyes and went on fasting for thirteen days 

You saved my books in the river, and protected mo 

against the calumny of the people. Verily have you come to 
succour your devotee ' (Abg. 3523). " Let people put a 
scythe against my neck, or give trouble to me as they please. 
I shall no longer do anything which will give you trouble 

Forgive me for what I have done before ; I shall now 

guard myself against future events" (Abg. 3524). "What 
will you not do, () God, for the saints, if they keep patience ? 
1 grew impatient, and without intelligence as I was, I never- 
theless received favour at your hands" (Abg. 3525). 

"Nobody had put a scythe on my neck, nor had anybody 
cudgelled me on my back, and yet I cried so much for your 
help. Compassionate as you were, you divided yourself in 
two places, near me and in the river, and saved both me and 


the books There is nobody who can be compared to you 

in point of compassion. Verily, my words fail to describe 
your greatness" (Abg. 3526). "You are more affectionate 
than a mother. You are more delightful than the moon. 
Your grace flows like a river. What comparison can I find for 

your qualities, O God? \ r ou, who have made nectar, 

are really sweeter than it I place my head on Thy feet 

in silence. Forgive me, O Cod" (Abg. 3527) "I am a 
vicious and sinful man. Give me a place at Thy feet. Adieu 
to all worldly life which only moves the mind away from 
God's feet. The ripples of intellect change from moment to 
moment, and attachment ends in dislodging us from fixity 
of any kind. Put an end to all my anxieties, God, and 
come to live in my heart" (Abg. 3528). 

8. Tukarama continued to be persecuted by the evil men in 

his native place, and liamesvarbhatta, a 
Tukarama and learned Brahmin who did not know what 

Ramesvarbhatta. spiritual life was, was probably one of 

the greatest of the persecutors of Tuka- 
rama. Once upon a time, it is reported, some bad men threw 
boiling water on the body of Tukarama as he was passing 
by. That put Tukarama in a state of agony. "My body is 
burning ; I feel as if I am actually burning in fire," says Tuka- 
rama. ".Run to my help, O God. My very hairs are aflame. 
The body is cremated unto death. It is bursting into two 
parts. Why do you wait any longer, God ? Kim to my 
succour with water. Nobody else can help me. You are 
verily my Mother, who can save her devotee at the time 
of distress" (Abg. 3956). And as Nemesis would have it, 
Kamesva-rbhatta himself, who was the cause of the above 
suffering, himself suffered great bodily distress on another 
occasion, and failing every resource to cure it, was ultimately 
obliged to go to Tukarama for succour. Tukarama, magnani- 
mous as he was, composed an Abhanga for him, by which, 
it is said, Kamesvarbhatta was relieved from his suffering : 
"If the mind is pure, then verily even enemies become 
friends ; neither tigers nor serpents can hurt them in any 
way ; poison may become nectar ; a blow may become a 
help ; what ought not to be clone may itself open for him 
the path of moral action ; sorrow will be the cause of happi- 
ness ; aftd the flames of lire will become cool ; all these 
things will happen when one knows that there is the same 
immanent Being in the hearts of all (Abg. 3957). 

9. Jiamesvarbhatta tells us the way in which, after a life 
of hatred towards TukFirama, he began to conceive a respect 


for him, and ultimately became his disciple. "As a result of 
my hatred towards Tiikarama, " Kamesvar- 
Ramesvarbhatta's bhatta tells us, " I suffered great bodily 
description of his own anguish. Jnanesvara appeared to me in 
conversion. a dream, and told me that I had con- 
tracted the disease, as I had censured 
Tukarama who was the incarnation of Namadeva, and the 
greatest of all Saints. Jnanesvara also told me to be submis- 
sive towards Tukarama, and in that way, there would be an 
end to my sin. Believing in the dream, I made up my mind 
to attend his Kirtana every day. Jt was in Tukarama's 
company that my body became whole" (Abg. 4145). "How- 
ever learned a man may be, and however well-versed in the 
Vedas, he can never equal Tukarama. Neither those who read 
the Puranas, nor those who study the Bhagavadglta, can come 
to know the socret of spiritual life. The Brahnianas in this 
bad age have been spoilt by their arrogance about caste, and 
by the consciousness of their superiority. Tukarama was a 
Bania after all, and yet he loved God, and therefore his words 
were as sweet as nectar. Tukarama merely expounded the 
real meaning of the Vedas. ... By his devotion, his know- 
ledge, and his dispassionateness, he was without equal 

Many great Saints have lived in times of old. but it is only 
Tuka who took his body to heaven. Hamesvarbhatta says 
that Tuka took leave of all men, and went to heaven in a 
Vimana" (Abg. 4144). 

10. Tukarama had by this time become fixed in God. 

As he had put his faith in the Name 

A piece of Tukarama's which his preceptor had imparted to 

autobiography. him, meditated on it, and made it the 

stepping stone to God-realisation, he 

was able to say that he had crossed the ocean of life. 

In two or three different places, Tukarama tells us how it 

was the name which had saved him through life. He gives 

us a piece of autobiography, which we narrate here in his 

own words: ''Salutation to (Jod, and salutation to the Saints 

Tuka is verily the servant of his teacher Babajl. Flow 

\\ill my words be able to please the Saints? I will at least 
try to please my own mind. Lot my mind go after the Name 
of God, and sing His praises. My early life was embittered 
by calamities ; but the Name gave me comfort. The happi- 
ness 1 derived by meditation on the Name was incomparable. 
The Impersonal took on a form. T found that (Jod runs to the 
place where the Name is celebrated. Make haste to sing the 
praise of God. Everything else leads to sorrow From 


those who disbelieve in the Name, God stands at a distance* 
.... The Name is verily the pathway to heaven. . . . Those 
who have known tell us to meditate on the Name by leaving 

away all arrogance Those, who know and those who 

do not know, to them I say, meditate on the Name. In this 
way will you be saved. 1 have personally known how a sinner 
could be saved. r \ here could be no greater sinner than myself ; 
other people may have stored some merit at least. To me 
there was no other pathway except the Kirtana. 1 found that 
the Saint need not be afraid of his sustenance : God will 
find ways and means for him. God will follow the Saint, 

look at his feet, and cleanse his path by his robe God 

has really saved me. There is no limit to the kindness of God" 
(Alg. 3935, 1-23). " Verily, 1 am a great sinner," says Tuka 
in another place, " I wonder why 1 should be the object of 
your love, () Saints ! I know in my innermost heart that 1 have 
not attained the goal of my life. I3ut people say that I have 
attained it, and follow one another in saying so. I was greatly 
worried in my life. I tewled the cattle, but that was not 
enough for my maintenance. What money 1 had, I spent 
on myself and did not give in charity to Brahmins and sages. 

1 got wearied of my relatives, wife, children, and brothers 

I could not show my face to the people. Then 1 began to 
take recourse to the woods. Hence it was that I began to 
like solitude. I was greatly worried on account of family 
expenses, and I became very unkind. My ancestors wor- 
shipped this God, and 1 have inherited that worship from them. 
J)o not suppose that I have got any high-strung devotion" 
(Abg. 3940). Yet, in another place, Tukarama tells us at 
greater length and with more personal touches the story of 
his own conversion. "I was born a Sudra, and was doing the 
duty which had fallen to my lot by the rules of caste. This deity 
Vitthala has been worshipped throughout the history of my 
family. I should not have said anything about my personal 
life ; but because you Saints have a^ced me about it, I say a 
few words. [ was merged in much sorrow in my worldly 
life. My mother and father died. My wealth was all spent 
in a famine. I was dishonoured. My wife died, because 
there was no food to eat. 1 was ashamed, and got disgusted 
with my life. My trade became meagre. The temple which I 
wished to build fell to the ground. Originally, I fasted on 
the EkadasI day and performed a Kirtana. My mind was not 
set on devotional practices originally. Jn full faith, arid with 
full respect, I learnt by heart some sayings of the bygone 
Saints. With pure heart and devotion, I sang after the men 


who performed the Kirtana. I tasted of the water on the 
feet of the Saints ; nor did I allow any shame to creep into 
my mind. I conferred obligations upon others as far as lay 
in my power, not minding any bodily hardships. I took no 
account of what my friends said about me. I became entirely 

disgusted about my life T never cared for the opinion 

of the majority. 1 relied only upon the instruction of my 
Teacher in the dream, and believed fully in the power of the 
Name. Then, I was encouraged to compose poetry, which 
I did with full faith in God Vitthala. I was, however, obliged 
to drown my poems in the river, which greatly upset my mind. 
I sat fasting at the door of Cod, and He ultimately comforted 
me. The many incidents of my life will take me long to de- 
scribe. I may say that I am content with what has happened. 
What is to happen further, Cod only knows. J know only this 
that God shall never neglect His Saint. 1 know how 
kind He has been to me. This is the treasure of my life, 
which God Vitthala has made me give out" (Abg. 3939). 
11. As a saint grows old, miracles inevitably gather 

round about him. Kven so did it happen 

Some Miracles of in the case of Tukarama. Once upon a 

Tukarama. time, while he was engaged in performing 

a Kirtana at Lohagaon, a woman brought 
her dead child, threw it before Tukfi, and charged him that 
if he were a real Saint, he would raise that child ; upon which, 
it has been related, that Tukarama raised the child. There is 
.an Abhanga of Tukarama probably referring to this incident : 
"It is not impossible for r l hce, () God, to bring to life a dead 
being. Have we not heard of Thy prowess in history ? AVhy 
should st Thou not do a similar act at present ? Fortunate are 
we that we call ourselves the servants of God. Tour a balm on 
my eyes, says Tuka, by showing the greatness of Thy power" 
(Abg. 3955). On one occasion, while Tukarama was engaged 
in a Kirtana and Sivaji was attending it, the enemies of Sivaji 
surrounded the place where the Kirtana was going on, upon 
which, there was a hue and cry among the people that had as- 
sembled for Kirtana ; and, it has been related, that as Tuka began 
to implore God to ward oft the danger, God appeared in the form 
of Sivaji, and tried to escape from the hands of the enemies. 
Whereupon, the enemies pursued him, leaving Tukarama 
and the real Sivaji unmolested at the place of the Kirtana. 
Tukarama's Abhanga in tins connection runs as follows : "How 
would it be possible for me to see this great disaster with my 
eyes ? My heart is filled with sorrow to see others in calamity. 
Thou must not see the disaster happen to us ! We have never 


heard that where the servants of Cod dwell, the enemies can 
come and molest them. Tuka says, my devotion has been 
put to shame. I shall be living only as a contemptible being in 
the eyes of others" (Abg. 3951). " 1 am not afraid of death. 

But I cannot see other people plunged in misery That 

one's mind should be upset at the time of Kirtana is itself 
a kind of death. Give me, God, says Tuka, shelter at a 
place where there is 110 danger" (Abg. 3952). "Shall 1 believe 
what has been said about the Kirtana of God, that where it 
is being celebrated, people are relieved of their miseries ? On 
the other hand, there is here a great danger : the enemies have 
almost laid a siege, i have come to know in person that 
without sin no sin can take place. How shall I now believe 
that Thou residest where Thy servants live ?" (Abg. 3953), 
upon which, it is said, that the enemies were put on a false 
scent by God, and Sivaji and Tukarama escaped the danger. 
The meeting of Tukarama and Sivaji does not seem to be un- 
historical, and we must remember the famous verse which 
Tukarama sent to Sivaji, in which he said that the ant and 
the king were to him alike. "My delusion and desires are at 
an end. They are verily the bait which death sets for us. 
Gold and clay are to me of equal consequence. The whole 
heaven has descended into my house" says Tuka (Abg. 3391) ; 
so saying, it has been said, that Tukarama refused to accept 
the treasure which Sivaji had sent him. 

12. Once upon a time it so happened that a Brahmin went 

to the temple of Jnanesvara at Aland I, 

Tukarama and and sat there in meditation with a desire 

Jnanesvara. that he might receive some spiritual 

illumination from him. After some 
days, the Brahmin dreamt a dream, in which he was 
advised by Jnanesvara to go to Tukarama, who was living at 
that time. r j he Brahmin came to Tukarama and told him 
what had happened in the dream ; whereupon Tukarama com- 
posed eleven Abhangas, the substance of which is as follows : 
"Do not follow the lore of the learned books. Take 
a vow that you would seek the grace of God by emptying 

your heart of its innate desires God will come to your 

rescue by the power of the Name, and take you across the 
ocean of life" (Abg. 3303). "(Joel does not possess salvation 
ready-made, so that He may liand it over to His devotee. 
Salvation consists in conquering the senses and mind, 

and making them empty of the pursuit of objects" 

(Abg. 3364) "Invoke the grace of God, asking His com- 
passion on you, and make your mind your onlooker 


Tuka says that God is an ocean of compassion, and will relieve 
you of the thraldom of existence in a moment's time" (Abg. 
3365). "If you meditate on the name of Govinda, then you 
will become Govinda yourself. There will be no difference 
between you and God. The mind will be filled with joy, 

and the eyes will shed down bears of love" (Abg. 3366) 

" Why do you become small ? You are really as large 

as the universe itself. Take leave of your worldly life, and 
make haste. Because you think yourself a small being, there- 
fore you are merged in darkness, and are grieved" (Abg. 3370) 

" The king of learned men, and their spiritual teacher, 

you are worthily called Jnanadeva. Why should such a low 
man as myself be made great ? A shoe on the foot must be 
placed only on the foot. Even gods themselves cannot be 
compared to you. ITow would then other people be com- 
pared to you ? But I do not know your purpose, and hence 
I humbly bend my head before you" (Abg. 3372). "A child 
speaks any words it pleases. It behoves you, great Saint, to 
excuse its lisping. 1 have taken no account of my station. 
Keep me near your feet, Jnanesvara," implores Tuka (Abg. 

13, Tukarama had now reached the summit of his spiritual 

power. His fame as a Saint had spread far 

The final scene of and wide. From the life of an ordinary 

Tukarama's life. Kunabi, he had risen to be the Spiritual 
King of the world. By performing Kir- 
tanas, and by spreading the glory of God's Name, he had been 
the cause of conferring infinite obligation on his devotees. 
He enjoyed every spiritual bliss in the world, and was waiting- 
only for the final scene. When the time arrived, he tells us, 
God came in person to take him to heaven. " See, God comes 
there with the conch and the disc in His hands. The eagle, 
His favourite messenger, comes with ruffled pinions, and says 
to me 'fear not, fear not'. By the lustre of the crown of the 
gems on God's head, even the Sim fades into insignificance, 
God has a form blue like the sky, and is infinitely handsome. 
He has four hands, and down His neck hangs the garland 
called Vaijayantl. By the lustre of His lower clothes, the 
quarters are filled with light. Tuka is filled with gladness 
that the very heaven has descended into his house" (Abg. 
3606). And when God Himself came to invite him, Tukarama 
did not think it proper to live any longer in the world. He 
bade good-bye to the people. " I go to heaven. Compassion be 
on me from all of you." says Tuka. "Tender my supplications 
to all. God Panduranga is standing up for a long time, and 


is calling me to heaven. At the last moment of my life, God 
has come to take me away, and Tuka disappears with his 
body" (Abg. 3010). As to whether Tukarama did actually 
take his body to heaven, we have no other evidence from him 
to determine except this Abhanga, and the only meaning that 
we can make out of it is that his very physical existence had 
become divine as the time had come for him to ascend to Heaven. 

II. Tukarama as a Spiritual Aspirant. 

14. We have hitherto considered the incidents in Tuka- 

rama's life as we gather them authentically 
Introductory. from his works. Starting from the life of a 

Kunabi, we see how ultimately he merged 
in God. But though we have considered merely Tuka- 
rama's external life-history hitherto, we have not taken any 
account of the history of his soul : how he commenced his 
spiritual life, what difficulties he met with on the way, what 
heart-rendings he had to experience in his lone journey, how 
ultimately a gleam of light began to shine on him, until finally 
how he realised God and became one with Him. The history 
of Tukarama's soul, therefore, will occupy our attention for the 
three sections to come. In the first, we shall consider Tuka- 
rama as a spiritual aspirant. Then, we shall go to consider 
the heart-rendings of Tukarama when he was unable to find God. 
Finally, we shall consider how Tukarama was able to realise 
God, and enter into union with Him. There is a sort of 
a Hegelian dialectic in Tukarama'ti soul. In the first stage 
of his spiritual career, he seems to have resolved to withdraw 
himself from the life of the world with a determined effort to 
win spiritual knowledge. This is the stage of positive affirm- 
ation. Then comes the stage of negation, the dark night of 
Tukarama's soul, a stage where Tukarama is warring with 
his own self. Finally, there is the stage of a new affirmation, 
namely, the cancellation of the original determination and the 
middle negation into a final vision of the God-head, which 
supersedes them both. We shall first see how Tukarama 
weaned his mind from the world with a determination to 
achieve his spiritual purpose. 

15. Tukarama began his spiritual career by girding up his 

loins against the life of sin u 

Tukararaa bids good- I have now determined to achieve the 

bye to the manners end. T shall never part with the trea- 

of the world. sure in my possession. Adieu now to 

all idleness which is the canker of the 

soul. Adieu to all forgetfulness which prevents one from 


harbouring God in his mind. Adieu to all shame, for it 
stands in the waj^)f the attainment of God. Happy am ], 
that I have determined to find out God" (Abg. 2774). 
He imposes upon his mind an extreme severity in social re- 
lations. "How long shall 1 tell my mind not to run after 
everybody it sees ? Idle affection is the cause of sorrow. Peal 
happiness consists in le^ling a severe social life. Care not 
for praise or blame. Care not for compassion and affection. 
Care not for happiness and sorrow. Do not' those who want 
to pursue God sit down at a place wit^ a determined effort 
to find out God ? Think about it, my mind, says Tuka, and be 
as hard as adamant" (Abg. 594). He expresses this same 
attitude elsewhere when he tells us that he had grown entirely 
indifferent to the amenities of social life. "Speak not with 
me" says Tuka. "Let people be as they are. My only busi- 
ness with them is to bid them good-bye as soon as I see them. 
Who can ever find time to mix with others ? These people 
are merged in all sorts of fantastic activities. At a stroke, 
says Tuka, 1 have come out of the manners of the world" 
(Abg. 1514). 

16. Tukaraina even craves deliberate misery in order that 

it might lead him to God. "Make me 
Tukarama invites homeless, wealthiest, childless" says 
deliberate suffering. Tuka, " so that I may remember Thee. 
Give no child to me, for by its affection, 
Thou shalt be away from me. Give me not either wealth or 
fortune, for, that is a calamity itself. Make me a wanderer, 
says Tuka, for, in that way alone I may be able to remember 
Thee night and day" (Abg. 2084). He elsewhere says also: 
"Let me get no food to eat, nor any child to continue my 
family line ; fout let God have mercy on me. This is what my 
mind tells me, and I keep telling the same thing to the people. 
Let my body suffer all sorts of calumnies, or adversities ; but 
let God live in my mind. All these things verily are perish- 
able, says Tuka ; for God alone is-happiness" (Abg. 247). 

17. "What use is there of this mortal body?" asks Tuka. 

"To feed on dainties and dishes is the 

The evanescence of life's ideal for the ignorant. People say 

the human body. that we should protect the body ; but of 

what use is that ? They do not know 

that ours is a perishable existence, and we will go out all of a 

sudden. Death will come and eat up our body like a ball of 

food. People have deliberately thrust scimitars in their bodies, 

have cut off pieces of their flesh, and like Suka have betaken 

themselves to the forest. Did not king Janaka, asks Tuka, 


rule over his kingdom at the same time that he was placing 
one of his feet in the fire"? (Abg. 248).^A11 this is as much 
as to say that as a spiritual aspirant, Tultarama advises us to 
cease to take care of the body. He discants upon the infir- 
mities of old age. " Old age conies and tells a tale in the ear 
that Death will soon pounce on the body. Why should not 
the mind grow alert at such a message ? ...... In no time shall 

the last scene take place ...... Think of the family deity, 

says Tuka, and leave away empty words" (Abg. 1914). Tuka- 
rama tells people to put themselves in mind of Death when 
they see the cremation of others. TukcTrama probably whetted 
his own mind to spirituality at the sight of the cremation of 
others by fire. " You see the burning of other people's bodies. 
Why does it not make you alert ? Cry after God without fear, 
before deatli has caught hold of you. Death is verily a price 
which the body has to pay ...... Why do people vainly seek 

after various paths ? When death comes upon you, it shall not 
allow you to move even an inch" (Abg. 1006). Inanother place, 
Tukarama asks : "Why do not people keep themselves awake 
when the robber is committing a theft in the neighbour's house ? 
Why do you merge yourselves in forgetfulness ? Your intellect 
has taken leave of you. Thieves are robbing everything 
that you possess, and are putting up a false appearance before 
you. You are entertaining a false idea. You never care to 
protect your inmost treasure : at least try to protect it now, 
says Tuka" (Abg. 1100). 

18. "It seems wonderful," says Tuka, "that people should 
rely upon anything except God to rescue 

Nobody can rescue them * rom le c ^ utc ^ ies f death. It is 
one from the Clutches strange that people should not take thought 
of Death except God of what would ultimately conduce to their 
Himself. benefit. Upon what do these people rely ? 

Who can help them at the final end ? 
What can they say to the messengers of Death ? Have 
they forgotten Death ? . Upon what treasure do these 
people count ? ........ Why do not they remember God 

in order to get away from the bondage of life ? ........ " 

(Abg. 943). "People love you because you give money to 
them. But nobody would help you at the time of death. 
When your bodily power has gone, when your eyes and nose 
are sending down excreta, your children and wife will leave 
you in the lurch, and runaway. Your wife will say, 'much 
better that this ass should die : he has spoilt the whole house 
by his spits'. Tukarama says that robody else can come to 
your rescue except God" (Abg. 2178). "Do not get yourself 


entangled", says Tuka, "in the meshes of worldly life; for. 
Death is approaching you to make a morsel of you. When he 
pounces upon you, neither your mother nor your father can 
rescue you ; neither the king, nor the governor of your place ; 
neither your relatives, howsoever good. Tuka says that 
nobody can rescue you out of the clutches of death except 
God Himself" (Abg. 2035). 

19. It was probably with a continual contemplation of 

the power of death that Tukarama forti- 
The spiritual value fied his mind against any impending 
of mortal existence. bodily calamities. But we must not say 

that he was not conscious of the great 
merit that belonged to the body if user! well. "The body 
is verily a wish-jewel/' Ke tells us. "It will yield you 
all desires if you put an end to all egoism, and if you make 
your mind as clear as a crystal by leaving away all cen- 
sure, injury, and deceipt. Such a man need not go to a place 
of pilgrimage to get absolution. lie will himself be a place 
of pilgrimage, and people will flock to him and get absolution 
at his sight. When the mind is pure, what is the use of those 
garlands and those ornaments ? The Saint will himself be an 
ornament to all ornaments. Ue always utters the Name of Cod, 
and his mind is ever full of joy. He has given over his body 
and mind and wealth to Clod, and is entirely without desire. 
Such a man is greater than a touch-stone and is impossible 
to describe" (Abg. 28). From this, we see that, provided the 
body is used well, it may itself be an instrument for the reve- 
lation of God. "Even gods desire this mortal existence" 
says Tuka. " Blessed are we that we were ever born, and have 
become the servants of Cod. By means of this life, and in 
this very life, we can attain to the Codhead. We can make 
heaven the stepping-stone to divine existence" (Abg. ]]9). 

20. Tukarama seems to have determined to turn his mortal 

existence to the best account possible. 

Tukarama binds God He prays to Cod to allow his mind to rest 

with Love. on His feet wherever his body may be. 

"This is my prayer to Thee, Cod. I 

place my head on Thy feet. Let my body be where it likes, 

but let my mind always rest on 1 hy feet. Let me spend my 

time in meditating on Thee. Let me turn away from body, 

and mind, and wealth. Release me at the time of death from 

such dangers as phlegm, and wind, and bile. So long as my 

senses are whole, I have called upon Thee, in order that Thou 

mightest help me ultimately" (Abg. 2430). Tn the midst of 

his life's duties, TukFraina's one interest was to remember 


the feet of God. "I do the duty which has fallen to me, but 
1 always remember Thy feet. Why should 1 give expression 
to my love ? Thou knowest it already. 1 look at Thy form 
at all times, and somehow carry on my worldly existence. 
1 have appointed my speech to sing Thy praise. My mind is 
anxious to have a vision of Thee without any craving for money 
or wealth. I am walking my worldly way, as a man must 
who lias a burden to carry ; but my mind is ever set 

on Thee "(Abg- 2050). He says to God that he would 

never be afraid of Him, provided he can continue to have 
devotion for him. "To find out God, I know a remedy. We 
need not be afraid of Clod. What power can He have ? We 
should pray to Him in all humility, and then, we will be able 
to find Him. He will then do whatever He likes. Merely 
by the power of devotion, we may be able to attain to Him.i 

Thus will I bind God by the cords of my love" (Abg.l 

543). The same idea Tukarama reiterates in another passage 
when he says that wherever God may go, He will find spread 
for Him the omnipresent meshes of Tukarama's love. "Wher- 
ever Thou mayest go, Thou shalt see me. Thus, far and wide 
shall I spread my love. r \ hero will be no place which Thou 
canst then call Thine own. My mind, which is set on Thee, 

will watch Thee everywhere "(Abg. 1064). Tukarama 

also employs one or two metaphors to describe the manner 
in which to love God. He tells us in one place that he will 
enclose Cod within him, as a tortoise encloses its feet. "Thy 
secret 1 have come to know by the power of my devotion. 
I have enclosed Thy form within me, as a tortoise encloses 
its feet. 1 shall never allow Thy form to melt away" (Abg. 
182). Again, Tukarama says that he will be a bird on the 
creeper of God's Name. "The creeper of God's Name has 
spread far and wide, and has attained to flower and fruit. 
Ou it my mind will be a royal bird and eat to its satisfaction. 
The seed has shown its sweetness. Why should 1 not catch 
hold of the fruit ? As one allows time to pass by, one will 
surely miss the sweetness of the fruit" (Abg. 2401). 

21. The most important help, however, for the realisation 

of Cod is the company of the Saints, and 

Tukarama pants for Tukarama expresses an earnest desire for 

the company of the the company of those who love God. "Let 

Saints. nie meet people of my own kind, so that 

I may be satisfied. "My mind pants to 

meet those who love God. My eyes keep a watch to see 

them. My life will be blessed only when 1 go and embrace 

those Saints. Only on that day shall 1 be able to sing God 


to my satisfaction" (Abg. 1316). It was with that view that 
Tukarama prayed to Cod not to make him dependent on false 
prophets. "As I go to see God in the houses of the learned, 
1 find only arrogance in those places. When 1 go to see those 
who recite the Vedas, I see that they only quarrel with one 
another. When 1 go to seek Self-knowledge, I find quite 
its opposite in those places. Ihose who have no control 
over their mind growl with anger, and falsely call themselves 
Gurus. Make me not dependent, God, upon such false 
prophets" (Abg. 980). "1 have left off everything and clung 
to Thy feet. 1 would much rather be the sands and pebbles 
in Pandharapiir. T shall touch the feet of the Saints who go 
to Pandhari. 1 shall even be the shoes and slippers on the 
feet of such Saints. I would not mind being even a cat or a 
dog in the possession of these Saints. I would even be a well 
or a stream, so that the Saints might come and wash their 
feet in it. If I am to be of any service to the Saints, T shall not 
be afraid of rebirth" (Abg. 3141). It was this spirit of Tuka- 
rama which made the Saints reciprocate the feelings of Tuka. 
Tukarama's obligations to the Saints knew no bounds. "How 
shall I express my obligations to the Saints ? They keep me 
ever awake. How shall I be able to repay their kindness ? 
If 1 sacrifice my life at their feet, that would be insufficient. 
They speak unconsciously, and yet impart great spiritual 
knowledge. They come to me, and love me, as the cow does 
the calf" (Abg. 2787). Thus in every way Tukarama kept 
himself alert. He watched himself every moment, and be- 
came his own on-looker. He tenaciously clung to the feet 
of God. He became awake as he had previously experienced 
the fear of life's misery (Abg. 827). 

III. The Dark Night of Tukarama's Soul. 

22. But not with all his determination to achieve the 
spiritual end would Tuka be so fortunate 
" I have not seen as to win God at once. The attain- 
Thcc even in my ment of God involves infinite trouble 
dreams/' and a perpetual racking of the soul. 

To the positive determination of the 
spiritual aspirant comes to be contrasted the negative psy- 
chology of the man who is in the throes of God -realisation. 
It was thus with Tukarama. Not with all his efforts to know 
God would Tukarama find that it was easy for him to reach 
God. " My heart tells me,' ' he says " that f have not known 
Thee. A tin-plate cannot have the colour of brass. The 
child of a concubine cannot know its father. People will come 


to know that I am not as they have supposed me to be" (Abg. 
] 475). He tells us in another passage that it would be impossi- 
ble for him to dance with joy, unless he has known God. "I 
have come to know the intentions of God," he says. "He 
deceives me and makes me serve, without bestowing His 

knowledge upon me But He does not know that I am a 

Barna after all, and that I cannot be so easily cheated. How 
can I dance with joy unless I have known God ? " (Abg. 1257). 
Tukararna confes i that he has not seen God even in dreams. 
" How am I not able to see Thy beautiful form even in dreams ? 
I have not seen Thy four-handed vision, with a garland coming 
down Thy neck, and with a beautiful mark of Kasturi on Thy 

forehead Show me Thy form at least in my dream, 

God, says Tuka" (Abg. 3257). He tells us furthermore that 
his desires have remained unfulfilled. He feels forlorn for not 
having had a fantasy of God even in his dream. "What I de- 
manded of Thee has been of no avail. My trouble has re- 
mained. Thou hast never given comfort to me, nor fulfilled my 
wishes. I have not had even a fantasy of Thee even in my 

dreams 1 feel ashamed of sitting in the company of 

the Saints. 1 have lost all courage. 1 think I am forlorn" 
(Abg. 2505). 

23. Tukarama sets up as the ideal of his early spiritual 

life the vision of the four-handed Per- 

Tukarama's desire to son > namely, God. He would be satisfied 

see the four-handed with nothing but that vision. "Honour 

vision. among men, happiness of the body, all 

kinds of prosperity are merely a tan- 
talising of the soul. Therefore come to me, God 

What shall T do with mere argumentative knowledge about 

You ? Tt is merely a secondary consideration. Nothing 

can satisfy me except the vision of the four-handed God 

My Soul likes nothing but Your own vision, and pines for the 
realisation of Your feet" (Abg. 1161). "How shall I be able 
to know Thy intimate nature ? The Sciences proclaim that 
there is no limit to Thy form. Take Thou on a spiritual form 
for me, and show me Thy four-handed vision. It would not 
be possible for me a mortal being to see Thy infinite form, 
which is above the heavens and below the nether worlds. I 
fully believe, O God, that Thou takest on a form according to 
the desire of Thy devotee" (Abg. 1719). "And I wish to see 
the same form which You have shown to bygone saints, 
Uddhava, Akrura, Vyasa, Ambarishi, Kukmangada and Prah- 
lada. I am keenly desirous to see Thy beautiful face and 
feet t I am desirous to know in what shape You appeared 


in the house of Janaka, and how You ate the poor food of 
Vidura ; how You favoured the Pandavas in the midst of 
danger ; how You saved .DraupadI when her honour was 
being lost ; how You played with the Gopis ; how You gave 
happiness to the cows and the cow-herd boys. Show me 
that form of Yours, so that my eyes may remain satisfied" 
(Abg. 1163). "Former Saints have described Thee. How, 
by the force of their devotion, Thou hast taken on a small 
form ! Show me r l hy small form, O Cod. Having seen r \ hee, 
I shall speak with Thee. I shall embrace Thy feet, shall set 
my eyes on them, and shall stand before Thee with my hands 
folded together. This is my innermost desire, which nobody 
else except Thee can satisfy" (Abg. 716). 

24. "I have become mad after Thee, O Cod. T am vainly 

looking in the various directions for Thee. 
Extreme restlessness J have left off all Samsara and the worldly 
of Tukarama's mind. manners. My eyes pine after seeing r l hy 

form, of which my ears have heard. r l he 
very foundations of my life are shaken, and 1 pant without 
Thee as a fish without water" (Abg. 2210). "Are 
You engaged elsewhere to attend to a devotee's call ? 
Or, are You fallen asleep ? You may have been caught 
in the meshes of the (Jopis' devotion, and may be looking 
at their faces ! Are You engaged in warding off some dan- 
gers of Your devotees ? Or, is the way far oft, that You have 
to cross ? ])o You see my faults that You do not come ? Tell 
me the reason, Cod. My life is really oozing out of my 
eyes," says Tuka (Abg. 1019). u My mind is fixed on Thee, 
as a beggar's mind is fixed on rich food. My heart is set on 
Thy feet, and my life-principle is dwindling. As a cat sits 
looking at a ball of butter ready to pounce upon it, so do I 
sit waiting for Thee, my Mother" (Abg. 3018). "As verily n 
young girl, who is going to her father-in-law's house, wistfully 
casts her glance at her home, similarly do 1 look at Thee and 
wish to know when I shall moot Thee. As a child that misses 
its mother, or as a fish that comes out of water, similarly do 1 
pant after Thee/ 5 says Tuka (Abg. 131). "Shall I ever be 
fortunate to enjoy Thee without a moment's respite ? When, 
O when, shall 1 enjoy that mental state ? Shall 1 ever be so 
foitunate as to reap the divine bliss ? Will ever (.Joel be pleased 
to give it to me?" (Abg. 2377). "I ask everybody 1 meet, 
will God help me ? Will God have compassion on mo, and save 
me from shame ? Verily, I have forgotten everybody, and my 
only business is to think about (.Jod. Shall I ever be fortunate 
to see one who will be able to tell me when I may meet God?" 


(Abg. 689). "Shall I ever be able to reach Thee like the 
Saints of old ? When I think how the Saints of old have known 
Thee, 1 suffer from extreme restlessness. I am a bondsman of 
my senses. They, on the other hand, were filled with happi- 
ness. I cannot curb a single sense. How shall 1 be able to 
curb them all ? If Thou leavest me at this stage, I shall be as 
good as nought" (Abg. 319). 

25. Added to his extreme desire to see (Jod and his in- 

ability to find Him, was the continual 
Tukarama's constant internal and external warfare which '1 uka 
warfare with the world w & s carrying on in his life. " f am always 
and the mind. warring," he says, "with the world and 

with the mind. Accidents befall me all 
of a sudden, and I try to ward them ofT by the power of r l hy 
name"' (Abg. 3140). " Yet, I am afraid on account of the 
darkness of the journey. All the quaiters to me have become 
lone and dreadful, and I do not find anybody worth lovinpr. 
T see herds of dangerous beasts and 1 lose all courage. r l he 
darkness prevents my journey, and I fall at every stump and 
stem. Alone, without a second, 1 find numerous paths open- 
ing out before me, and I am afraid to take to any one of them. 
My (Juru has shown me the way no doubt, but God is yet far 
away"' (Abg. 2504). As Tuka found desolation in the external 
world, so he found it also in the internal world. "Save me, 
() (Jod," he says, "from the wanderings of my mind. It is 
always agile, and never rests for a moment. Be not now 
indifferent to me, () (-5od. Run to the succour of this poor 
soul. Hun before my various senses have torn off my mind 
into pieces. All my personal endeavour lias been at an end : 
1 am only waiting to have r l hy grace" (Ab<*. 113(5). 

26. r \ ukarama became at this stage keenly conscious of 

his own defects, as happens with all 

Tukarama's consci- progressive mystics, and an introspec- 

ousness of his faults. tive analysis of his mind put him in 

torments of self-calumny. Time and oft, 

Tukarama calls in the help of Cod to save him from his 
faults. Any personal effort to remove the signs of sins 
and faults became insufficient,' and an external help was 
invoked for the purification of his mind. "1 know my own 
faults too well, O ("-Jod. But T cannot help the wanderings 
of my mind. Now stand between myself and my mind, and 

show r j hy compassion 1 have solely become a slave 

to my senses. Be not indifferent to me, () Cod, however 
wicked T may be" (Abg. 2082). "My mind tells n^e that 
my conduct is wicked. J know my faults too well. Thou 

10 F 


knowest everything, (Jod, and mayest do as Tliou pleasest. 
I have now fallen on Thy compassion. Thou mayest do 
whatever Thou thiukest fit" (Abg. 11)02). "I even think 
of the merits which 1 once possessed. 1 now feel 1 have 
lost all of them. My mind tells me that my capital has been 
lost. 1 think about the faults of others in order to make 
myself an object of praise, i have become like a cock which 
pecks ahead, and which while pecking loses its food" (Abg. 
1454). " I have been verily ashamed of the spiritual life. 
I do not think that r i hou mayest accept me. My mind does 
not stand still. It turns from object to object. 1 have been 
enchained by pseudo-greatness, and have given over my neck to 
be tied by the cords of affection. My body wishes to partake of 
dainties to which it is accustomed, and 1 do not like bad things. 
I have been a mine of faults, says Tuka ; my idleness and sleep 
know no bounds" (Abg. 2780). " I have assumed a saintly ex- 
terior, but have not bidden good-bye to the things of the world. 

I recall to mind this fact every day My mind has not 

come out of the worldly life, and is persistently doing the same 
things over and over again. I have become like a Bahu- 
rupi, and am never internally as I seem to be" (Abg. 465). 
27. Tukarama even goes to consider how his life has been 
a perpetual scene of vice and misery. 
Tukararoa's descrip- "Cursed be my egoism. Cursed be my 
tionof his own vices. fame. r l here is no limit to my sin and to 
my misery. I have become a burden to 
this earth. How much have 1 suffered ? My sorrow 
would break a hard stone. Men do not even so "much as 
look at me. Tn body, speech, and mind, J have done 
evil things. My eyes, hands and feet have been the slaves 
of sin. Censure, hatred, betrayal, adultery : how much 
should [ narrate my own defects ? By the consciousness of 
my little wealth, 1 became arrogant. My house was rent on 
account of my having two wives. 1 have disrespected my 
father's words. I have been a thoughtless, crooked, duty- 
avoiding, censurable wrangler. How many more of my 
defects shall I enumerate > A>y speech is "unable to men- 
tion them. My mind trembles to think of them. 1 showed no 
compassion to the poor, conferred no obligations on them, had 
no courage of words, have been entirely addicted to sex : 1 
cannot even mention these things in words. Hear, Saints, 
how my vices and thoughtlessness have increased my sin ! 
Make me acceptable to (Jod, () Saints ! I have come in sub- 
mission before you" (Abg. 2062). Jn another place, he tells 
us the same story: "Masterless as T was ? I have been the 


source of many faults. No dutiful action has relieved my 
conduct. 1 have been a man of dull apprehension. I have 
never remembered Thee, () compassionate Lord ! I have 
never heard or sung Thy prayer. I have entertained false 
shame. T have not known the way to realisation. I have 
never heard the Saints' stories. On the other hand, I have 
much reproached and censured the Saints. I have never 
conferred any obligations on others. I have shown no com- 
passion in teasing others, I have done things which T should 
never have done. I have vainly laboured under the burden of 
my family. T have never gone to places of pilgrimage. I have 
fattened my hands, body and feet. I have never served the 
Saints. 1 have never given anything in charity. I have never 
worshipped any deities. T have hugged to my heart things 
which T should have avoided. I have done many unjust and 
unrighteous things. I have not known the way to real 
good. ! cannot even speak or remember the things that T have 
done. T have been an enemy to myself, and have committed 
self-slaughter. Thou art an ocean of compassion, O God ! 
Enable me to cross this worldly existence'' (Abg. 40G6). 

28. Tukaruma thinks that his constant sin stands between 
himself and God. "I pant after Thy 
Tukarama's sin stands vision and even seek Thy compassion 
between himself and but it seems that my sin stands be- 
God. twecn Thee and me. I pursue the de- 
votional path as if by compulsion 

I do not know when Thou mayest give composure to my 
mind'' (Abg. I486). " I came to Thee as a fond child, but my 
desires were not fulfilled. 1 follow r l hee as under necessity, 
but my endeavour stops in the middle. It seems my sin 
has become powerful, and stands as an obstacle in my vision 
of Thy feet" (Abg. 2835). "New sins attack me while T try 
to surrender myself to Thee. Be Thou compassionate, God. 
Why should anything have any sway over us, when we try 
to follow Thee?" (Abg. 2759). "Do not count my faults. 
I am sin incarnate. I am sinful, Thou art holy. I am a 
sinner, Thou art a redeemer. r l he sinner may do his deeds, 
but the redeemer must come to his help. If an iron hammer 
tries to beat down a Parisa, theParisa will turn the hammer into 
one of gold. Nobody cares for a clod of earth ; but it be- 
comes valuable when it comes in contact with musk" (Abg. 
1458). This same idea Tukarama expresses elsewhere when 
he says that it may be his to sin, but it is God's to save 
him. "Do not fail to do Thy duty, compassionate God! 
It becomes us to commit sins, but it becomes Thee to succour 


the unholy. I have done my duty, and it behoves Thee to 
discharge Thine. Do not fail to accomplish Thy traditional 
task, says Tuka" (Abg. 1223). 

29. Tukarama next goes on to discuss the reasons why 

probably God does not show Himself to 
The reasons why ^ m ' n ^he &**& place, he says that he 
probably God does probably lacks sufficient endeavour, and 
not show Himself to the grit of body and mind which alone 
Tukarama. enables one to reach God. He is there- 

fore thrown in a great doubt as to whether 
God may ever show Himself to him. "Whether 1 hou wilt 
ever accept me or not, that gives me food for thought. 
Whether Thou wilt show Thy feet to me or not,- that makes 
my mind unsteady. Whether r l hou wilt ever speak with me or 
not,- that puts anxiety into my mind. Whether 'I hou wilt re- 
member me or not, that puts me in a state of doubt. Prob- 
ably, says Tuka, Thou dost not accept me. because T lack 
sufficient endeavour" (Abg. 3291)). A second reason, probably, 
which, according to r Juka, makes God not to show Himself 
to him, is that God may suppose that he may ask something 
of Him when He has shown Himself to r l uka. Tukfrrama 
tells God that he would ask nothing of Him, if God condes- 
cends to show Himself to him. "Anything which will put 
my Lord into difficulties, what will that avail me ? 1 shall 
not tease Thee, God, or ask anything of Thee. 1 have from 
the bottom of my heart left off all ambition for power, or success, 
or wealth, or even absolution. I only want r l hee to show 
Thyself to me but once, and clasp me to Thy bosom" (Abg. 
3019). Probably also, says Tuka, God does not show I Tim- 
self to him, because, he has not yet completely resigned himself 
to His will. " I have given over my body to 1 hee, and yet 
I entertain fear. So treacherous am 1. Such a great mistake 
I have committed. What I speak by word of mouth, 1 have 
not experienced in my heart. I deserve a severe punishment 
at Thy hands, God, for this impropriety" (Abg. 3061). 

30. Tuka's mind is tossed at the thought that people praise 

him for nothing. He invites God to dis- 
The humility of illusion him when he regards himself as 
Tukarama. a great singer. " 1 think in my mind, 

God, that there is no singer like me. 
Thou art omniscient and great. Shalt Thou not be able to 
dispel this illusion ? Desire and anger have not yet lost their 
hold on my mind. They have taken a permanent lodg- 
ment in me. I have disburdened myself before r l hee in order 
that Thou mayest know my mind" (Abg. 1476). "Of low 


caste though I may be, yet because Saints have praised me, 
I feel an internal arrogance. I his, I am sure, will end by 
robbing me of my virtue. 1 feel internally that T alone am a 
wise man. Save me, says Tuka ; or otherwise, I shall come to 
ruin" (Abg. 2072). Tukarama questions God why He has 
brought fame to him when he did not deserve it. " What 
happiness will a man derive when his body is anointed with 
sandal, if he is feeling a severe ache in his stomach ? Why 
hast Thou brought fame to me, () God ? If dainty dishes are 
served before a man who has had fever, what relish could 
he have for them ? If a dead body be adorned with ornaments, 
of what use would it be to the body ?" (Abg. 1474). With 
humility, which is a natural product of mystical introspection, 
Tukarama describes how with all his poetry he is forever 

away from God. "A parrot speaks as it is taught 

The happiness of a dream does not make one a king 

Why shouldst Thou have adorned my tongue with song ? 
For, it takes me away from Thee. Of what use is gold re- 
flected in a mirror ? You look at it, but are unable to catch 

hold of it A cow-boy tends cattle, but he does not own 

them" (Abg. 2850). "Good things," says Tuka, "are like 
poison to me. 1 do not want either happiness or honour. 
What should I do to these people who persist in giving that 
tome ? When the body is being tended, I feel as if it were on 
fire. Good food is like poison. My heart is troubled when I 
hear my praise. Show me the way to see Thee, set me not to 
pursue a mirage, do what is ultimately good to me, and take 
me out of this burning fire" (Abg. 24(>). "When shall I be 
made an outcast, (Jod, in order that in repentance I shall 
remember Thy feet ? Tears will trickle down my eyes, and I 
shall know no sleep. When shall 1 be able to enjoy solitude ? 
Help me, God, to achieve my object" (Abg. 1221). 

31. Tukarama found, however, that not by merely living in 
solitude he would be able to reach God. 

A request to the He needed very much the company of 
Saints to intercede. the Saints, who would be able to give 
him the evangel of (Sod. In a state of 
utter forlornness, Tukarama says that there was no townsman 
for him in this life. His city was planted in heaven, while 
everybody who talked to him and met him spoke only of 
earthly things. " J see no townsman for me in this life. How 
shall I lead a lonely life in this world ? I so much pant after 
spiritual company. Wherever 1 look, in whatever direction 
I cast my eyes, I find an empty space everywhere. 1 feel 
forlorn, and nobody tells me news of Thee," says Tuka (Abg. 


741). If Tukarama could not find God, lie said he should 
be at least so fortunate as to live in the company of the Saints 
who would tell him the news of God. " (jive me the company 
of those who have an incessant love towards Thee, O God. 
Then T shall no longer tease Thee. I shall live near the feet of 
the Saints and shall ask nothing of Thee. If Thou canst 
bestow upon me this boon, r l hou wilt kill two birds with one 
stone. IN either Thou nor 1 shall be teased any longer. For 
this reason, I am standing like a beggar at Thy door" (Abg. 
635). "When 1 remember the spiritual experience of the 
Saints, my heart burns within me. I shall offer my life to Thee 
as a sacrifice, so that Thou mayest make me worthy of the 
Saints. Words without experience are as valueless as a creeper 

without fruit " (Abg. 2915). Moreover, " the Saints, 

who have seen r l hee in bodily form, will laugh at me and count 
me as unworthy for spiritual life. It is this thought which 
makes me sad. They have described Thy form in this way and 

in that way. How shall I be able to describe Thee ? 

Tell me what faults 1 have committed, and why Thou re- 
gardest myself as unworthy. r l hou art known to have equal 
feelings towards all, being their common parent. "Remove 

my ignorance, O God, by giving me this knowledge 

(Abg. 4032). Then, not being able to find God Himself, he 
appeals to the Saints to tell him whether God will ever favour 
hirn. "Shall I be relieved of this miserable existence? Will 
God favour me ? Tell me, Saints, and give composure to 
my mind. Can the actions I have done cease to bear fruit ? 

How may I be able to know God's secret? Will my 

intellect be ever composed ? Or will any obstacles come in 
the way ? When shall I reach the end ? When shall I be able 
to throw myself at the feet of (loci ? When will these eyes 

rejoice at the blessed vision of God ? This is what is 

filling me with anxiety day and night, says Tuka. I cannot 
imagine that my unaided strength will ever make me reach the 
end" (Abg. 4072). "When shall I be able to rejoice in the 
vision of the God-head among all men ? Then my happiness 
will know no bounds, and I shall merge myself in an ocean 
of bliss. Then will tranquillity and forgiveness and compassion 
make lodgment in my soul, and drive away my evil passions. 
Then shall I shine like a burning fire of dispassion and dis- 
crimination. Then shall T be a pattern of nine-fold Bhakti, 

the crown of all emotions " (Abg. 1707). "When shall 

I be able to hear the words of the Saints that r l hou hast ac- 
cepted me ? r J hen alone shall my mind rest at ease. I have 
made Thy face and feet the cynosure of my eyes. I shall fix 


myself firmly in the words of the Saints, and 1 shall do no 

other Sadhana for meeting Thee " (Abg. 719). "Do 

me this charity, () Saints. You are compassionate and holy. 
Remember me to God, and tell Him the agonies of my heart. 
I am without a Lord. Fault ful, fallen, throw me not away. 
God shall not leave me, if you but intercede on my behalf, 
says Tukfr (Abg. 15:;9). 

32. Tukarama tries yet another way. He approaches 

God direct, and feeling his great impo- 

The asking of grace tence in reaching God, requests Him to 

from God. send down His grace on him. What 

cannot be done by human endeavour, 
may be accomplished by divine grace. " Throw me not 
away/' says Tuka, "I am a dog at Thy door. I am sitting 
like a beggar before Thy house. Turn me not out of Thy 
mansion. I am like an evil thing before Thy presence. Save 
me by Thy power, God" (Abg. 2722). ""Save me," says 
Tuka again, "from these all-encompassing and never-ending 
meshes by Thy bivine power. As I think about it, 1 find my 
mind is uncontrollable, and runs after sense. I have taken 
the bait and cannot throw it out by my own power. Power- 
less as f am, I am waiting for Thy vision, O God" (Abg. 1452). 
"1 have been verily pent up in this Samsara as a serpent is 

pent up within a basket by the music of a juggler 

Save me by Thy power, f feel I am impotent to go beyond 
this enchantment. 1 have caught the bait like a fish which 
runs after food, and then kills itself by it. 1 am like a bird 
which tries to find its young one, but gets itself caught in a 
net. fake a fly sticking in a sweet substance, the more 1 shake 
my wings, the more 1 get myself inside. My very life is 
departing. Save me by Thy power, () (Sod"' (Abg. 039). Tuka- 
rama takes resort to other analogies, and requests God to lift 
him up as a mother lifts up her child. " I have become wearied 
my Mother, and can walk no longer. Lift me up in Thy kind- 
ness and love. Put me to Thy breast, and ward off my hunger 
which has continued to give me trouble throughout life. 
1 am wearied, and cannot even speak" (Abg. 1400). Then, 
again, Tukarama regards himself as a Chataka bird which is 
desirous of getting some drops of rain in its beak. It would 
not partake of any water on earth. It must have water from 
heaven to satisfy its thirst. fc< I foel thirsty like a Chataka 
bird. Rain Thy graco on mo, () God ! I am directing my sight 
towards heaven, and Thou knowest it already. A sprout 
can grow into a tree only when it is watered from above " 
(Abg. 2803). "Let me have a vision of Thy feet, as a man 


after a long-continued fast may have of food. Let love spring 
in me, as it springs in a child when it sees its mother after a 
long time. Let covetousness rise in me about God, as it rises 
in a stingy man when he looks at a treasure/' says Tuka (Abg. 
1884). Indeed, says Tukarama, there is no need for him to give 
vent to his thoughts by word of mouth ; for God knows his 
thoughts already. His only business is to ask compassion of 

God His own power is inadequate to reach God, and all 

sadhanas are useless. We must sacrifice ourselves to God, 
says Tuka, and cease to think of the end time and again 
(Abg. 1224). Finally, he invites God to help him, only if his 
words are a true index to his heart, and if his behaviour 
does not belie his internal feelings ; for God knows all things 
already (Abg. 1084). 

33. Hitherto, r l ukarama believed it possible for him to 

have a vision of God. He waited long 

The Centre of and tried various means to that end. 

Indifference. But nothing would help him. He believed 

at first fully in his power to know God, 
but he now began to find it almost impossible for him to know 
Him. From the everlasting yea, he now began to pass through 
the centre of indifference. "How long shall I wait," he asks, 
"I see no sign of God's presence. It seems to me, O God, 
that Thou and 1 shall have now to part. How long shall I 
wait? I do not see the fructification of 'I hy promises." 
Tukarama thought that he was ruined both externally and 
internally. His family life was a failure, and it seemed that his 
spiritual life was equally so. 80 far as his family life was con- 
cerned, he was at his purse's end, and was so much in debt 
that nobody would give him any debt any longer. It was 
impossible for him to go to other men's houses, lie had lost 
all reputation and honour among men for having followed the 
path of God (Abg. 12(iO). He was left by his relatives and 

friends and it seemed that he had lost all shame 

He had disgraced himself. It seemed that an evil spirit had 
taken possession of his intellect, and would not give him any 
TTOV VTO>. It was probable, says Tukarama, that God had 
many devotees and left this one in the lurch" (Abg. 1757). 
Thus, Tukarama seemed to have been ruined both in worldly and 
spiritual matters. His desire remained unfulfilled. His mind 
burned like a seed on a frying pan. Nothing gave satisfac- 
tion to his mind. He could not know what was in store for 
him. He went up and down as if caught in a whirlpool. 
He was incessantly going up and descending down the moun- 
tain of thought (Abg. 2540). 


34. Tukarama did not stay for a long time in the centre 
of indifference. He saw no help coming. 

The Everlasting He began to call in question the onmi- 
Nay. potence of God. He thought that even 

his Fate was more powerful than Clod. 
"1 have lost all patience," says he, "and Thou hast not ac- 
cepted me. I think my Fate is more powerful than Thee. 
I have grown powerless to wend on my way. Aly cries are of no 
avail. Tuka does not know how to sacrifice himself to God, 
and God has thus become indifferent to him" (Abg. 1485). 
" When people of old realised their spiritual end, they did so 
by their own power. They strained every nerve in realising 
Thee. Thou hast merely repaid the obligation which they had 
conferred on Thee. Thou hast never saved, () God, a powerless 

being like myself, says Tuka" (Abg. 1279). w4 God's 

impotence is now proved, says Tuka. His Name has no power. 
My love towards Thee is gradually diminishing. Enormous 
sin stands in the way. My mental agony increases. God has 
acquired the quality of impotence, says Tuka" (Abg. 1923). 
Then, again. Tukarama tries another remedy for invoking 
the attention of God. He tells Him that He has forgotten 
what His devotees have done for Him. It is the devotees 
that have endowed Him with a form. "It is due to men 
like us that Thou art made to assume a form and a name. 
Who else might otherwise have cared for Thee '? Thou hast 
lived in the great Void. Darkness brings lustre to the lamp. 
The setting brings lustre to the jewel. The patient brings 

the doctor to light Poison makes nectar valuable. Brass 

makes gold have a value. Jt is due to us, says Tuka, that 
Thou art made a God at all" (Abg. 2527). In the same strain 
Tukarama says, "Thou hast forgotten that our devotion has 
endowed Thee with Godhood. Great men are short of memory. 
They cannot remember unless they are put in mind of a thing. 
It is due to us that Thou art able to move. In Thine own 1 
impersonal form, Thou wouldst not be obliged to do anything 

of that kind "(Abg. 2159). (Joel taxed Tukarama's 

patience to the utmost. Tukarama now came to know that 
Godhood was a meaningless word. Who can now preserve 
that empty symbol ? "Why has God punished me hitherto? " 
asks Tuka. "Now God and I are placed on an equality. 
Whatever I may say about Thee, whatever word of abuse 1 
may utter, it all becomes Thee, () ("Joel. r l hou art shameless, 
and without caste, and race. Thou art a thief, and an adul- 
terer. Thou livest upon stones, and mud, animals, and 

trees 1 know that Thou art an ass, and a dog, and an ox, 


and bear all sorts of burdens. People in by-gone times have 
known that Thou art a liar. I have come to know the truth 
of the remark, says Tuka. Thou hast provoked me to a quarrel, 
and nobody can now gag my mouth" (Abg. 1531 ). Elsewhere, 
he says that God is verily a beggar, and His work a lie. " It 
is shameless beings like myself that have patience to put their 

faith in God God does not speak, and yet accepts all 

service from His servants" (Abg. 1252). God is not merely a 
beggar, but makes His devotees beggars like unto Him. Woe 
to the company of God, says Tuka. "Thou makest Thy 
servant a beggar like Thyself. Thou hast no name and form. 
Thou makest Thy devotee even likewise. As Ihou hast 
nothing in Thyself, Thou shalt reduce me to naught" (Abg. 
1546). Tukarama then goes on to shower every kind of 
abuse on God. He calls God timid, because He does not 
approach Tuka. "Nobody stands between Thee and me," 

he says. "Thou art timid to approach me Being the 

support of the world, Thou seemest to be powerless. It is 
we, who give Thee support by uttering Thy name time sifter 
time. I have been verily caught, says Tuka, in the net of 
the elements" (Abg. 2062). He calls in question the genero- 
sity of God, and says that it is a shame to His generosity 
that He should have made him heter-dependent. " Thou hast 

made me dependent upon others Thou art known to be 

generous, O God. There is an end to Thy generosity now. All 
rny supplications are of no avail, and Thou k no west no chari- 
ty. Why shouldst Thou have given birth to us at all, () God, 
asks Tuka ? Why shouldst Thou have made me an object of 
pity ? Does it not prove Thy impotence, asks Tuka > " (Abg. 
2776). "I am ashamed to call myself r lhy servant, invents 
belie my words. Thou hast left unfulfilled the words of by- 
gone saints. Thou hast even made me sing. .But that seems 
to be now merely a farce" (Abg. 3447). "How should J call 
myself Thy servant, if my wishes remain unfulfilled '( If Thou 
carest for my love, do not delay any longer. If Thou hast to 
show Thyself to me sometime, why dost Thou not do it now ? 
I can sing with justification only when I have seen Thee" 
(Abg. 1567). "How cruel must God be," asks Tuka, "that 
He should not have shown Himself to me even though He is 
reputed to be so near. Thou livest in my heart, and hast 
no compassion on me. Thou art cruel and impersonal. Thou 
knowest not the pangs of my heart. My mind knows no rest. 
My senses wander. My sin is not at an end. Thou art as 
angry as ever" (Abg. 243). "If Thou dost not show Thyself 
to me now," says Tukarama, "Thou shalt receive a curse 


from me, Thy son. Why art Thou garnering Thy treasure 
and for whom, if not for us, Thy children ? r l hou allowest 

Thy children to cry with hunger By our curse Thou 

alialt be ruined, God. Being my father, Thou shalt be an 
object of my curse" (Abg. 3548). "I shall spoil Thy fair name, 

if Thou continuest to be indifferent I shall refuse to 

utter Thy name, and shall drown Thy whole lineage" (Abg. 
3541)). "People will say that from our omnipotent Father we 
are born impotent. Ihese abuses will be hurled in Thy face 

by the world, and r lhy name shall be dishonoured I 

feel my life to be a burden" (Abg. 3550). Tukarama then 
went to call in question the very existence of God. He tells 
Him that he would not have grown mad after Him, had he 
known already that He did not exist. "Empty is the name 

that Thou obtainest in the world In my opinion, 

God does not exist Aly words have fallen short of reality. 

I have grown hopeless. I have lost both the life of the world 
and the life of the spirit" (Abg. 3303). Tukarama ends by 
saying that in his opinion God is dead. "To me, God is dead. 
Let Him be for whomsoever thinks Him to be. T shall no 
longer apeak about (Sod. I shall not meditate on His name. 

Both God and I have perished Vainly have 1 followed 

Him hitherto, and vainly have I spent my life for Him" (Abg. 
1597). "Shall 1 now throw myself on a scimitar or into a 
flame of fire, or shall 1 lose myself in a forest and expose myself 
to the extremes of heat and cold, or shall 1 close my lips for- 
ever ? Shall I besmear my body with ashes, or wander like a 
nomad over the world ? Shall 1 give up the ghost by a long 
fast ? Tell me, God, the way to find Thee if Thou dost exist" 
(Abg. 457). And finally, not finding God, Tukarama deter- 
mines to commit self-slaughter. "Thou hast no anxiety for 

me. Why now should 1 continue to live ? 1 had 

lived in the vain hope that Thou mightest come to the succour 
of this sinful creature. Nobody will now accept me, and Thou 
hast adamantine cruelty. My hopes are shattered, and I 
shall now commit self-slaughter" (Abg. 2266). 

IV. The Ecstatic and Post-ecstatic Experiences of Tukarama. 

35. God could wait no longer. The agonies of Tukarama 

had reached an extreme stage, and his 

Tukarama's sudden heart-rending cry was heard by God. 

vision of God. The dark cloud on Tukarama's heart was 

now suddenly illumined by the flashes 

of God's vision. As happens in the case of all mystics, the 

dark night was suddenly relieved by the great light that 


followed. Tukarama saw God's vision and bowed at His feet. 
"I see God's face, and the vision gives me infinite bliss. My 
mind is riveted on it, and my hands cling to His feet. As I 
look at Him, all my mental agony vanishes. Bliss is now 
leading me to an ever higher bliss, says Tuka" (Abg. 1329). 
"Blessed am I that my effort has been crowned with success. 
I have attained the desired end. My heart is set on God's 
feet, and my mind is composed. The blessed omen has wiped 

off death and oldage My body is changed. On it has 

fallen the light of God. I have now obtained limitless 
wealth, and I have seen the feet of the formless Person. I 
have obtained a treasure which has existed from times im- 
memorial For my very life, 1 will never leave it any 

longer. Let no evil eye affect my possession, says Tuka" 
(Abg. 4005). 

36. When Tukarama looked back to find out the reasons 

which had led him to realise God, he found, 

Reasons according to in the first place, that the company of the 

Tuka for his Realisa- Saints had been mainly responsible for this 

tion of God. h a lW consummation. " My fortune has 

brightened and my anxiety has been at an 
end on account of the company of the Saints. By their favour 
have I been able to find out God. T shall now enclose Him in the 
chest of my heart. That hidden treasure has been found out 
by my devotion'' (Abg. 449). In the second place, Tukarama 
says that the realisation of God was due entirely to the des- 
cent of God's grace on him without any merit on his own part. 
"Suddenly has the treasure been placed in my hands, and in 
fact, without any adequate service. My fate has become 
powerful, and I have seen God. Never more shall there be any 
loss to me, and my poverty is gone. My anxieties are at an 

end, and 1 have been the most fortunate of men '' 

(Abg. 1775). Tukarama, however, is not entirely unconscious 
of the great effort that he had made for God -realisation. " In 
all ways, however, T tried to reach this consummation. I con- 
scientiously did service to my Lord. I never looked back. I con- 
quered time by utilising every moment. I did not disturb my 
mind by conjectures, nor did 1 allow any evil desires to come in 
the way .... Now that fortune has smiled on me, I shall move 
on undaunted" (Abg. 1673). Lastly, Tukarama says that God 
has accepted him, probably on account of his defects. " God 
accepted me seeing that I was a man of low birth, a man with- 
out intellect, a man of humble and mean form, and with other 
bad things about me. I have now come to know that whatever 
God does ultimately conduces to our good. T have enjoyed in- 


finite bliss Tuka says that God is proud of His name, and 

therefore comes to the succour of His devotees" (Abg. 69] ). 
37. Tukarama now feels satisfied that his long eflort has 

come to an end, and that now he would 

A Confession of be able to enjoy the company of God to 

Blessedness. his heart's content. "For long had I 

waited to see Thy feet. Time had parted 
us for a long time. Now shall I enjoy r lhy company to my 
satisfaction. Desires hitherto had given me much trouble 

T was long moving away from the path For long 

was 1 merged in mere semblance Now the consum- 
mation has been reached, and I am merged in enjoyment 5 ' 
(Abg. 2322). Tukarama asks God to stop and look at him. 
"1 never cared for my relatives, I moved after Thee in order 
that Thou mightest speak with me. 1 had waited long 
to enjoy Thy company in solitude. Stand, God, before me 
and look at me, says Tuka" (Abg. 16JO). "How blessed am 1 
that I have seen Thy feet to-day ! How much have the Saints 
done for me, () God! To-day's gain is indescribable. Its 
auspiciousness is beyond measure. Tuka wonders how so 
great a fortune should have fallen to his lot" (Abg. 2005). 
U A11 the quarters have now become auspicious to me. Evil 
has itself been transformed into the highest good. The lamp 

in my hand has dispelled all darkness The grief I hitherto 

felt will now conduce to happiness. 1 now see goodness in all 
created things" (Abg. 1310). "Blessed am I that my love has 
been fixed in Thy name. My blessedness is undoubted. 1 
shall never be a creature to the onslaught of time. 1 shall 
now live on the spiritual nectar, and live always in the company 
of the Saints. Satisfaction is being added to satisfaction, and 
enjoyment to enjoyment" (Abg. 1098). Tukarama now con- 
siders that everyday to him is a holiday. " Blessedness be- 
yond compare ! We, who are mad after God, are sunk 

in blessedness. We shall sing and dance and clap our hands, 
and please (Hod. Kvery day to me is now a holiday. We are 
full of joy, and the omnipotent God will vindicate us in every 

way " (Abg. 8098). "1 have become entirely careless 

of the objects of sense. Divine joy is seething through my 
body. My tongue has become uncontrollable, and ceaselessly 
utters the name of God. From greater to greater bliss do T go, 
as a miser goes from greater to greater riches. All my emotions 
have been unified in God, as the rivers in an ocean" (Abg. 975). 
"And no wonder that people will reckon me, says Tuka, as 
more blessed than any other being. Those who boast of self- 
knowledge, and those who boast of absolution, will both lose 


colour before me. My very body becomes divine when T sing 
the praise of God. Fortunate am I that God is my debtor. To 
a man who goes on pilgrimages, 1 shall bring weariness ; and 
to one who seeks the enjoyment of heaven, J shall bring disgust 

Blessed will people call me, says Tuka ; blessed are wo, 

they will say, that we have seen Tuka" (Abg. 3598). 

38. Tukarama was a photic as well as an audible mystic, 

like all the other great mystics of the 

Tukarama is a photic world. This is evident from the way 

as well as an audible in which he describes his light and sound 

mystic. experiences. " The whole world has now 

become alight, and darkness is at an end. 

There is no space for me to hide myself The day of Truth 

has come, and its spread is now beyond measure. For the sake 
of his life, says Tuka, he has won his goal" (Abg. 2556). " God", 
he says, "shines like a diamond set in a circle of rich jewels. 

His light is like the light of a million moons Tuka 

says that His vision is now satisfied, and refuses to return from 
its cynosure" (Abg. 4020). Tt is impossible for him, says 
Tukarama elsewhere, to describe the bliss of unceasing illu- 
mination. "Thou art our kind and affectionate mother, 
O God, and bearest all our burdens. We know no fear, nor 

any anxiety T cannot know the night from day, and the 

unceasing illumination exists at all times. How shall T be 
able to describe the great bliss I enjoy ? I have worn the orna- 
ments of Thy names, and by Thy power nothing is lacking to 
me" (Abg. 4083). Tukarama also describes how he was 
hearing the mystic sound all the while. "God has really 
favoured me" he says. "My doubts and delirium are at an 
end. God and Self are now lying on the same couch in me. 
Tukarama now sleeps in his own Form, and mystic bells lull 
him to sleep" (Abg. 3252). "I have been in tune with the 
Infinite, and psychical dispositions take time to emerge. 1 
have become full of spiritual pride, and I cannot control my 
limbs. Another voice speaks through me, and happiness and 
sorrow have lost their difference. T can hardly find words to 
describe the happiness to these people. They may wonder 
at it, and say this is impossible. Both my exterior and in- 
terior are filled with Divine bliss, says Tuka" (Abg. 1030). 

39. Tukarama elsewhere describes his other mystical ex- 

periences also. In one place, he tells 

Tukarama's other us, "God is pursuing me outright. I 

mystical experiences. have fallen in the hands of God", he 

says, " and He is using me as a menial 
without wages. He extracts work from me, not caring what 


condition it may bring me into. Wherever I go, God pursues 
me. He has deprived me of all my possessions/' says Tuka 
(Abg. 2012). Klse where he tells us that God is moving all 
around him. " T have been pent up internally and externally 
by God. He has put an end to all my work, and has deprived 
me even of my mind. He has deprived me of self-hood, and 
has separated me from all things, in close connection with me, 
says Tuka, He is moving round and round" (Abg. 3810). 
Tukarama orders God to stand before him, so long as he is 
looking at Him. " T like immensely this form of Thine ; and my 
eyes are satisfied. My mind having caught the bait of Your 

vision, does not leave it on any account " (Abg. 3111). 

Tukarama tells us also that wherever he goes, God is there to 
walk by him, and help him on his way by taking up his hand. 
" It is by Thy support that I move on the way. Thou bearest 
all my burden. Tliou puttest meaning into my meaningless 
words. r i hou hast taken away my shame, and put courage 

into me " (Abg. 1307). He tells us also that God and 

he himself are forever interlocked. "Thy hand is on my head, 
and my heart is on Thy feet. Thus have we been interlocked 
body into body, self into self. It is mine to serve, and Thine 
to favour, says Tuka" (Abg. 2701). 

40. The highest experience, however, of which a mystic 

is capable, occurs, as Tukarama says in 

Tukarama's Self- another passage, when the difference 

vision. between Self and God has vanished. "I 

gave birth to myself, and came out of 
my own womb," ways Tuka. "All my desires are at an end, 
and my end is achieved. When I became powerful beyond 
measure, 1 died at the very moment. Tuka looks on both 
sides, and sees Himself by himself (Abg. 3944). When Tuka- 
rama saw Himself, nothing remained for him to be achieved. 
" God is the giver, and God is the enjoyer. What else remains 
to be experienced? Or, how can we put it into words? By 
the eyes 1 see my own form. The whole world seems to be 
filled by Divine music, says Tuka" (Abg. 170). Finally, Tuka- 
rama finds himself pent up all around by his own Self. "Deep 
has called unto deep, and all things have vanished into unity. 
The waves and the ocean have become one. Nothing can come, 
and nothing can now pass away. The Self is enveloping Him- 
self all around. The time of the Great End has come, and 
sunset and sunrise have ceased" (Abg. 1815). Tn this way, 
Tukarama describes how his Self had merged in God. 

41. The very first effect of God-vision, says Tukarama, is 
that God has made him mad. tk He follows me wherever T go, 


and makes it impossible for me to forget Him. He has robbed 

away my heart which was all my treasure. 

The effects of God- Tie has shown Himself to my vision, and 

vision. made me go mad after Him. My mouth 

refuses to speak, and my ears to hear. . . . 

My whole body has been filled by the heat of Divine passion, 

says Tuka" (1059). u My previous outlook," says Tuka, "has 

been entirely changed on account of the new possession. I find 

no life now in worldly life. A new possession of the soul has 

taken place. The former outlook has changed. My life has 

been filled with divine joy. The tongue has partaken of a new 

sweetness, (Jod's name is fixed in my mouth, and my mind 

has become tranquil Whatever T wish, shall now be 

fulfilled wherever I am, says Tuka" 1 (Abg. 2(i23). (tad's 
vision has next deprived Tuka of solitude. " Where can I 
run, being afraid of this worldly life ? Wherever I look, Cod is 
present, lie has deprived me of solitude, and there is no place 
without Him. How shall 1 say that I am going to another 
place ? When a sleeping man awakes, he finds himself in his 
home. What do J owe Thee, (tad, that Thou hast penned 
me from all sides?'' (Abg. 1197). Tukfirama tells us that 
God speaks to him whenever he wants an answer. "Look 
at my spiritual experience," says Tuka. "I have possessed 
(tad. Whatever 1 speak, God fulfils. Whatever I ask, (tad 
answers immediately. When J left off this worldly life, (iod 
became my servant. Tt is due to my patience, says Tukii, 
that 1 have been able to possess Hod" (Abg. 22(iO). Tukfi- 
rama asks (tad whatever his mind desires. " J shall now throw 
all my burden upon Thee. When I fool hungry, T shall ask 
for food. When I experience cold, I shall ask for clothing. 
Whatever my mind desires, I shall ask it of Thee at the very 
moment. Sorrow shall never attack our house. The great 
disc in Thy hand moves round about us, and wards off all 
evil. I have no care for absolution, says Tuka. T long for 
this worldly existence" (Abg. 2513). r ihe mystic sees not, 
says Tuka, and yet he sees. " I have not seen anything, and yet 
T see everything. I and mine have been removed from me. 
I have taken without taking, 1 have eaten without eating, 
spoken without speech. Whatever has been hidden, has been 
brought to light. I never heard, and yet all things have saun- 
tered into my mind, says Tuka" (Abg. 1 18). And thus it hap- 
pens that Tukarama is merely a looker-on. "There is now no 
work for me. All at once, every kind of work has been taken 
away. T will now sit silent at a place, and do whatever I like. 
The world vainly follows illusions. All of a sudden, says 


Tuka, I have been out of the world" (Abg. 850). He has been 
free from all connections whatsoever. " 1 do not belong to any 
place ; J belong only fco one place. T do not move out, and 

come back There is no difference to me between mine 

and thine. I do not belong to anybody. 1 am not required 
to be born and to die. I am as I am. There is neither name 
nor form for me, and I am beyond action and inaction, says 
Tuka" (Abg. 25(5). 

42. "All men have now become Cod," says Tuka, "and 

merit and demerit have disappeared 

The whole Universe My mind lias been filled with great happi- 
becomes God. ness. When one looks into a mirror, 
it seems as if one is looking at a different 
object, and yet one is looking at oneself. When a brook runs 
into a river, it becomes merged in it" (Abg. 2281). "My 
country is now the universe," says Tuka. " I live in the whole 
world. All the people iu the world have come to know that 
I am dear to my Father. 1 here is nobody between Him and 
me ; there is no chasm. My only resting place is the Name of 
(Uxl" (Abg. 1113). "If 1 mean "to worship r l hee," says Tuka, 
"such worship becomes impossible, as Thou art identical 
with all means of worship. Tell me, () God, how I may wor- 
ship Thee. If I may give Thee ablution of water, Thou 
are that Thyself. r l liou art the scent of scents, and the frag- 
rance of flowers If 1 am to place Thee on a couch, r l hou 

art Thyself that. Thou art all the food that may be offered to 
Thee. If I am to sing a song, r l hou art that song. If 1 sound 
the cymbals, Thou art those. There is no place whereon 1 
could now dance. r l he scent and the light are now Rama, 
Kiishna, Hari" (Abg. 1128). "I see r lhy feet everywhere. 

The whole universe is filled by r l hee r l hou hast become 

everything to us, says Tuka. We have no taste for work or 
worldly life. We need not go anywhere or do anything. 
We utter r l by name and meditate on 'I hee. Whatever I speak 

is a recitation of Thy qualities When I walk, I turn 

round about Thee. When f sleep, I fall prostrate before Thee 

All wells and rivers are now r l hyself. All houses, and 

palaces have now become the temples of God. Whatever 1 
hoar is the name of God. Various sounds are heard," says 
Tuka, " we are the servants of God, and are ever filled with 
great joy" (Abg. 1228). 

43. What are the marks by which a Saint may be known ? 
"He to whose house God comes," says Tuka, "loses his man- 
hood. When (Jod comes to live in a man, He deprives him of 
everything except Himself, The marks of God's presence are 



that He allows no desires in a Saint, nor any affection He, 

who has come to know God, becomes garru- 
Thc signs of God's lous, and yet is never tainted by untruth 

Presence in the Soul All these marks may be seen in me, 

says Tuka" (Abg. 2583). He tells us fur- 
thermore that women to him appear as bears, and gold as a 
clod of earth. " I never like anything in this world except the 
Name of God. Mortal existence seems to me to be a vomit. 
Gold and silver are like a clod of earth. Jewels appear like 
stones. Beautiful women," says Tuka, "appear to us like 
bears" (Abg. 224). The Saint can know no fear, says 
Tukarama. "Is it possible for a man to find out darkness 
by means of a lamp ? Similarly, we, who are the servants 
of God, shall never be afraid of death and other mirages. 
An unfortunate man does not know that the Sun cannot 
be hidden by dust. Fire can never be hidden by grass," 
says Tuka (Abg. 258). A Saint in all his actions gives 
constant lodgment to God. "Whatever he sees is God, 

whatever he speaks is God The whole body becomes 

filled by God, and passions forever take leave of me," says 
Tuka (Abg. 3942). Another mark is the utter self-surrender 
of the Saint. "I have for once surrendered myself at Thy 

feet. What more shall I surrender ? I do not see, 6 

God, that there is anything else that i may surrender " 

(Abg. 245). He need no longer ask compassion from God. 
"So long as I was not awakened to this spiritual life, T bore 
all kinds of grief. But because I am now wakened by the 
Saints, I know that all things are vain'" (Abg. 192). No suppli- 
cation is now needed, says Tuka. By the power of God, he has 
got control over events. "We, the servants of God, are not 
like other men to supplicate to others. By the power of God, 
the whole world looks dwarfish to us. r Jime and death are 
in our hands. God will justify us, His servants. We have 
surrendered ourselves to Him ? and live at His feet. Whatever 
we now desire, God shall certainly fulfil for us " (Abg. 229(1). 
Tukaram says he has conquered time by resigning all sorrow 
in God. "I shall meditate on Thee and play about r l hee. 
My heart is set on r ! hy feet. r \ hou knowest my heart, God ; 
no false description of it would be of any use. We have re- 
signed our happiness and sorrow in r l hee. We have lost bodily 
egoism, and the distinction between self and not-self has been 
effaced" (Abg. 2647). Tukarama tells us also that he has 
planted his foot on the forehead of Death. "Death eats up 
the world, but we have planted our foot on his forehead. He 
will stand up when we shall dance with joy, and will himself 


come to our help. He whose hunger could never be fulfilled, 
is now satisfied by God's name. Hot-burning as he was, he has 
now become cool " (Abg. 1393). Finally, he tells us that both 
night and sleep had become to him as good as non-existent. 
He feels that there is no night, because he sees the lustre of 
God at all times. He cannot sleep, because God's presence 
always keeps him awake. " Both night and sleep have now 
departed. I live in God in continual spiritual bliss. God is 
everywhere and 'me' and 'mine' have departed. God and 
myself shall now live together, and never shall we be separat- 
ed" (Abg. 2860). 

44. Tukarama speaks of having seen his death with his 

own eyes. This means that when he 

Tukarama sees his had realised God, his body was dead. 

death with his own "T saw my death with my own eyes. 

eyes. Incomparably glorious was the occasion. 

The whole universe was filled with joy, 
I became everything, and enjoyed everything. I had hitherto 
stuck to only one place, being pent up by egoism. By my 
deliverance from it, 1 am enjoying the harvest of bliss. Death 
and birth 'are now no more. I am free from the littleness of 
'me' and 'mine'. (Jod has given a place for me to live, and I 
am proclaiming (Jod to the world" (Abg. 1897). Tn another 
passage, he speaks of the funeral pyre of the living body. 
" The living body is dead, and has been placed in the cemetery. 
Passions are crying that their lord is gone, and death is crying 
that he has lost his control. The fire of illumination is burning 
the body with the fuel of dispassion. The pitcher of egoism 
is whirled round the head, and is broken to pieces. The death- 
cry 1 1 am God' emerges vociferously. The family lineage has 
been cut oil', and the body is delivered to Him who is 
its Lord. Tukarama says that when the body was being 
reduced to ashes, the lamp of the (Jura's compassion was 
burning on it" (Abg. 189ft). 1 his death, says Tuka, has 
brought on everlasting light. " When the body was emptied, 
God came to inhabit it By my bodily death, the un- 
ending light began to burn. At one stroke, Tuka became 
non-existent, and his personality came to an end" (Abg. 2637). 
"When 1 died," he says elsewhere, U F made over my body 
to God. Whom and how shall I now serve ? The doll throws 
out its hands and feet, as the wire-puller moves the thread. 

1 speak as God makes me speak Merit and demerit do 

not belong to me. They belong to God. Believe me, says 
Tuka, 1 am beyond this body " (Abg. 21 60). " My end is gained, 
my heart is set on Thy name, and infinite joy springs from the 


remembrance of Thy feet. The purpose for which I had 
taken on a body has been achieved, and a future life is cut off. 
A sudden profit has now accrued, and nothing remains to be 
achieved" (Abg. 1314). 
45. Tukarama employs various images to describe his 

great spiritual power after (lod-realis- 

Tukarama's great ation. ffc speaks of himself as the son 

Spiritual Power. of (Jod ? and (Jod as his father, and as 

such he tells us the son must necessarily 
inherit the patrimony of his father. r l hen ho speaks 
of himself as being tho key-holder of the treasury 
of (lod. 1 hirdly, ho speaks of (Jod's grace as the harvest, 
and himself as the distributor of it. Lastly, he speaks of 
himself as the Spiritual King of tho world. In all those ways 
ho describes how he comes to have sovereign power. To quote 
Tukarama, he tells us, in the lirst plaoe, that he would 
no longer be a powerless, casteless, mean man. His father 
is God Punduranga, and his mother is Rakhuniai. In both 
ways, he has descended of pure stock. He would no longer 
be of poor spirit or of dwarfish power. He would no longer 
be wicked or unfortunate, (Jod would come to his succour 
He tells us, furthermore, that death would hide him- 
self before him, and as the rich treasure has come to his lot, 
he would remain careless in mind (Abg. 1001). He asks in 
another place, Who could prevent the son from obtaining the 
patrimony of his father? "All power and fortune seek the 
house of the Saints. Who could prevent the son from obtain- 
ing the treasure of his father ? 1 would sit on the lap of (Jod, 
says Tuka, and there remain fearless and content"' (Abg. 850). 
"The father, 5 ' he tells us yet in another place, "treasures 
riches merely for the sake of his son. He gives himself utmost 
trouble, bears the burden of his son, and makes him the master 
of his treasury. He puts ornaments on his son, and is satis- 
fied by looking at him. He prevents people from troubl- 
ing his son, and in so doing does not care even for his own life" 
(Abg. 2414). Secondly, Tukfirnma speaks of himself as being 
the key-holder of Cod's treasury. " I shall now give and take 
by my own power. r l here is nobody who can prevent me from 
doing so. J possess, the key of (Hod's treasury, and every kind 
of merchandise thp.t may be asked for is with me. By the power 
of my faith, (Jod has made me a free master, says Tuka " 
(Abg. 2380). Thirdly, he speaks of himself as distributing 
the rich harvest of (iod, and when the distribution is no longer 
needed, he would treasure up the remainder. "There is no- 
deficit here," says Tuka, "All castes may come and take 


away to tlieir satisfaction. The surface of a mirror shows a 
man as he is. Those who believe in God enjoy solitude even 
in company, and God comes upon us as a rich harvest. Tuka 
is the distributor of it, and gives to all as they like" (Abg. 
3946). "And now J shall treasure up the harvest. I shall 
keep with me the seed of all existence from which all beings 
spring. I have blown off the chaff, and kept intact the rich 
grain. To my lot, says Tuka, God has fallen by the power 
of my desert" (Abg. 3047). Lastly, in almost the same strain, 
Tuka speaks of himself as being a crowned spiritual king. 
u My lineage has been found out, and (as at the coro- 
nation of a king) been proclaimed before all. Tn order to 
continue the spiritual tradition, I have been crowned king of 
the spiritual world. The white umbrella now unfurls itself; 
the banner of the super-conscious state flutters in the air ; 
the mystic sound fills the universe. The Lord of Tuka- 
rama places him on ilis own spiritual pedestal, and the whole 
world is filled with joy'' (Abg. 3255). And as the spiritual 
king of the world, Tuka asks, is lie not the master of all he 
wishes? " In the bosom of Bhakti, there are mines of rich 

jewels, and all things whatsoever arc in God When a 

king demands anything, nobody says 'nay'. By the power 
of his faithful service, a servant is himself raised to the posi- 
tion of a master From his lofty throne, he can now look 

below upon the world. Tuka was at once placed on the spiri- 
tual throne by the power of his faith, and people regarded him 
as God himself" (Abg. 788). 

46. As a result of his identification with God, Tukarama 
tolls us in many places in his Abhangas 

The words of Tuka- tllttt (!o(l . is speaking through him, 
rama are the words of or that his words are mixed with divi- 
God. uity. 4 ' 1 know nothing, and what 1 am 

speaking are not my words, () Saints. B<^ 
not angry with me. These are nob my words, (.Sod Pandu- 
rafiga speaks through me, as He has filled every nook and 
cranny of me. ITow can a foolish man like myself have the 
power to speak what transcends the Vcdas ? I only know how 
to lisp the name of God, By the power of my Guru, God is 
bearing all my burden'' (Abg. 1188). He invites people to 
believe in him though unlearned ; because he bears the im- 
press of Vitthala. "If the holy waters of the Ganges flow past 
an idle man, should not the other people bathe in those waters ? 
If the wish-cow stands in the court-yard of a pariah, should 
not the Brahmins make adoration to it ? If a man, struck 
with leucoderma, holds gold in his hands, should not people 


touch it, considering it unholy ? If the Patel of a village is 
an outcast, should not his words be obeyed ? Tuka, in whom 
devotion has become strong, bears the stamp of Vitthala, 
and those who do not listen to him, shall have their faces 
besmirched" (Abg. 3157). "People do not see," says Tuka- 
rama, " that Uod is speaking through me. I am made to speak 
words of realisation by God Himself. Unbelieving and un- 
intelligent men cannot know this. These unheard-of gracious 
words are the gift of God. People cannot come to believe 
this, even though I tell them so often and often" (Abg. 2353). 
"As for myself," he says, "1 speak only as" I am taught by 
my Master. I do not speak my words. My words are of my 
gracious Lord. The parrot speaks as it is taught by its master. 
What can an insignificant man like myself say, unless he is 
made to speak by the all-supporting Lord ? Who can know His 
ways, asks Tuka,. He can make a lame man walk without 
feet" (Abg. 2163). "I have no intellect," Tukarfuna tells us. 
"I speak straight on. T speak merely the words which have 

been used by the Saints I cannot even properly utter 

the name of Vitthala. What then do I know of spiritual 

knowledge ? I was born of a low caste. 1 cannot speak 

much. The Lord makes me speak, and He alone knows the 
innermost meaning of my words" (Abg. 518). "Do not say 
that I am responsible for my poems. God makes me sing 

1 am merely set to measure the corn : the corn belongs 

to my Lord. T am only a servant of my Lord, and hold 
in my hands His impress and authority" (Abg. 005). "My 
words are surely mixed with divinity. 1 do not grope in 
darkness. I go on sowing in faith. Ihe treasure belongs to 
my Lord. What room is there for egoism here '*. 1 go on 
awakening people to their duty," says Tuka (Abg. 771). "My 
speech," Tukararna also tells us, "is like rain universal in 

nature. The thief harbours perpetual fear in his heart 

What may we do to this ? My words touch the wounds in 
the hearts of people. He who has the wound will suffer from 
the probe" (Abg. 1939). 

47. Tukarama had achieved the end of his life, and he 

now lived only for the benefaction of the 

The mission of world. He had realised, that, like God, 

Tukarama. he was smaller than an atom and larger 

than the universe. He had belched out 
the body and the universe. He had transcended the three 
stages of consciousness, and was living in the fourth, as a lamp 
may silently shine in a pitcher. He said that his only busi- 
ness now was the benefaction and betterment of the world 


(Abg. 3340). His duty was only to spread religion. "To 
advance religion and to destroy atheism is my business now 

T take pointed answers in my hands, and send them 

like arrows. 1 have no consideration, says Tuka, of great and 
small" (Abg. 1445). Tukarama is conscious that he has been 
doing this work through various lives. " r l hrough various 
lives I have been doing this duty, namely, to relieve the op- 
pressed from the sorrows of existence. 1 shall sing the praises 
of God, and gather together His Saints. 1 shall evoke tears 
even from stones. 1 shall utter the holy name of God, and 
shall dance and clap my hands in joy. 1 shall plant my foot 
on the forehead of death. I shall imprison my passions and 
make myself the lord of the senses" (Abg. 1585). He tells 
us that false prophets will have their sway only so long as 
they have not seen r l uka. U A jackal will make a noise only 
so long as he has not seen a lion. The ocean will roar only 
so long as it has not met the sage Agastya. Dispassion may be 
spoken of only so long as a beautiful maiden has not been 
seen. People will speak of bravery only so long as they have 
not met a born warrior. Ifosaries and bodily marks will 
have their sway, only so long a,s their bearers have not met 
Tuka/' (Abg. 2011). '-Pebbles will shine only so long as the 
diamond is not brought forth. Torches will shine only so 
long as the Sun has not risen. People will speak of the Saints 
only so long as they have not met r l uka" (Abg. 2012). Tuka- 
rama tells us furthermore that he has been a companion of 
Cod from of old. "We have been the companions of God 
from times immemorial, God has taken iis along with Him* 
There has never been any difference between God and our- 
selves. We have never lived apart from one another. When 
God was sleeping, I was there. When God took Lanka, I 
was there. When God tended the cattle, I was there. Our 
business is the meditation of God's name without a moment's 
respite" (Abg. 1584). Tuka was present, he says, even when 
Suka went to the mountains to attain Samadhi. " Spiritual 
arrogance pursued Suka. Vyasa sent him to Janaka in order 
to remove his pride. Janaka pointed the way to him and 
sent him to the peak of Meru. Tuka says that he was present 
even at the time when Suka attained Samadhi" (Abg. 1717). 
Thus it happens, says Tukarama, that he has been living 
through various incarnations, and as before, even in this lifcy 
has come to separate the wheat from the chaiT. " 1 have coz/fe 
to illumine the ways, and to distinguish the true frorn,4he 
false. God makes me speak, being always in my company. 
By the power of the Lord, 1 have no fear in my heart. Before 


me, no tinsel can have any power" (Abg. 17(>). Tukarama 
tells people that he has come in (Joel's name to carry them over 
the sea of life. " I have girdled up my loins, and have found 
out a way for you across the ocean of life. Come here, come 
here, great and small, women and men. lake no thought, 
and have no anxiety. 1 shall carry all of you to the other 
shore. I come as the sole bearer of the stamp of (Jod to carry 
you over in Clod's name'' (Abg. 221). r l ukarama charges 
people to cease from doing wrong henceforth. " For what- 
ever has happened hitherto through ignorance, 1 forgive 
you all. But do not commit any sins henceforth. He. who 
commits adultery with another man's wife, has made inter- 
course with his own mother, fie, who does not listen to us, 
should never come to us. He on your guard, says r ! uka, arid 
listen when I promise" (Abg. 140). wl Your sins will be washed 
away if you do not commit them again. Utter the name of 
Vitthala, and you will ho free from your sins. Sins shall have 
no existence before the power of (!od\s name. Millions of 
sinful acts will be burnt in the fire of (Jod's name. Do not 
look backwards I stand guarantee for your sins. Com- 
mit as many sins aw you can name. Peath will have no sway 
before the fire of (Jod's name" (Abg. 100). "I enjoy this 
sweet ambrosia and distribute it among men. Do not wan- 
der among the woods. Tome here nnd partake of my offer. 
Your desires shall be fulfilled, if your intellect is fastened on 
His feet. I come as a messenger from Vitthala. Kasy will 
be the Pathway by which you may go to Uod" (Abg. 198). 
Finally, Tukarama tells us that having had his station origi- 
nally in heaven, he came down to the earth, like the Saints 
of old, to pursue the path of Truth. u \Ve will cleanse the path 
of the Saints. People have ignorantly gone to woods and 

forests '1 he true meaning of the Sacred Books has been 

hidden. Wordy knowledge has been the cause of ruin. Senses 
have stood in the way of Sadhana. We will ring the bell of 
Bhakti. It will send a threat into the heart of Death. Re- 
joice, says Tuka, in the victorious name of C!od" (Abg. 222). 


Tukarama's Mystical Teaching. 

V. Preparation for Mystic Life. 

48. Hitherto we have considered Tukiirama\s mystical 

career as it is found in his own writ- 
Introductory, ings. Evidently, there is a personalistic 

colouring to the mystical development of 
Tukilrama as we have discussed it till now. We shall now 
proceed to consider the mystical teaching of Tukarama. r l his 
is valuable as coming from Tukilrfuna when he had reached 
the stage of a full-fledged Saint. As we have hitherto dis- 
cussed what Tukfirama said about his own mystical develop- 
ment personally, we shall now discuss what he says of 
mystical development in general. We shall iirst consider 
what preparation Tukarama considers necessary for mystical 

49. In the iirst place, Tukarama teaches how the novice 

in Yoga should modulate his life, so as 

Rules for the life ultimately to be able to reach (Sod. lie 

of the novice in tells us that the novice in Yoga should 

Yoga. always be indifferent to all things, should 

not get himself contaminated internally 

or externally by anything whatsoever. He should leave off 
greediness, conquer sleep, take a, measured quantity of food, 
and should, in private* or in public, avoid, on pain of death, 
conversation with women. He alone who believes in such a 
Sadhana, says Tukfi, will ultimately reach the end of his en- 
deavour by the grace of his (luru (Abg. 2008). Such a novice 
in Yoga should take only such clothing and food as would be 
sulHcient for life, should live in a hermitage either in a 

far- of I cave or in a forest, should not sit talking among 

men, should carefully guard his senses by the force of his 
intellect, should make the best use of every moment of his 
life, and remember (Sod (Abg. 033). It was for this reason 
that Tukarama tells us that the Kishis of old avoided the 

world, made subsistence on onions and roots of trees, 

lived in utter silence, shut their eyes, and meditated on 
(Sod (Abg. 521). "If we carry on our spiritual practice regu- 
larly, what can it not achieve ?" asks Tuka. "The wet root 
of a plant breaks even huge rocks. Practice can achieve 
anything whatsoever. Nothing can stand in the way of a 
determined effort. A rope can cut a hard stone. One can get 


oneself accustomed to poison by taking it in increasingly large 
doses. A child carves a place for itself in the mother's womb 
as time elapses" (Abg. 848). "Have not people taken large 
quantities of aconite," asks Tuka, "by gradually accustom- 
ing themselves to it ? One can take a poisonous snake 
in his hands, striking terror into the hearts of the on-lookers. 
Through practice, says Tuka, even the impossible becomes 
possible" (Abg. 1,59). "Thus we should go to solitude and 
fix our mind on God, should not allow our mind to wander, 

should avoid all frivolity, should set our heart on 

reality, and pierce it as an arrow pierces the mark. We 
should bid good-bye to idleness and to sleep, and live in 
the constant wakefulness of God" (Abg. 2865). 

50. Tukarama's advice to the man who wishes to accom- 
plish both Prapaiicha and Paramarbha 

The worldly life a * *^ e sanie time, that is to say, to seek 
of the spiritual as- the worldly and the spiritual life together, 
pirant. is, that by doing so, lie would lose them 

both. "lie who says that he would 
accomplish the worldly and the spiritual life together, shall 
accomplish neither. Between two stones he will only fall to 
the ground. He will be ruined on both sides, and will ultimately 
go to hell" (Abg. 3144). The novice in Yoga, therefore, should, 
in the first place, ward off all relatives, whether son or wife 
or brother. "When we have once known that they a,re ulti- 
mately of no use, why should we get ourselves contaminated 
by them ? We should break a pitcher for them, as one breaks 

for a dead body " (Abg. 81). " If our father and mother 

happen to create obstacles in our spiritual life, we should ward 
them off. Who cares for wife and children and wealth ? They 

are merely a source of sorrow Prahlada left off his father, 

Bibhishana his brother, Bharata both his mother and kingdom. 
The feet of God alone, says Tuka, are our final resort ; every- 
thing else is a source of evil" (Abg. 83). This is the negative 
social ethics which Tukararna preaches for the initial stages of 
the spiritual life. "Such a man should take thought as to 
the real way of deliverance from mortal life. If one gets 
drowned in a boat made of stones, who can save him ? One 
should not therefore destroy oneself like a fly jumping into a 
flame. If a man takes quantities of arsenic, he should not 
call for a doctor in his last moment" (Abg. 4002). "Such 
a man should throw away the frivolities of life, and follow 
the path by which have gone the Saints of old. He should 
gradually unwind the skein of worldly life. He should follow 
the foot-prints of those who have gone ahead He 


should think time after time about his past conduct, and 
take courage for the future. Tuka says that as a man 
speaks, so he must live" (Abg. 1399). "He should not fill his 
vision with the evanescence of the world. He should consider 
that the mortal body is destined to perish, and that Heath is 
eating it up every moment. He should seek company of the 
Saints, and make haste for the spiritual life. He should 
not allow his eyes to be blinded by the smoke of worldly exis- 
tence" (Abg. 2339). " He should eat the leaves of trees, and 
sing Vitthala time after time. He should wear bark-gar- 
ments, and leave off bodily egoism. He should consider honour 
among men as good as vomit, and live in solitude for the sake 
of God. He should not go in for complacency of conduct, but 
live in a forest. Me, who determines to carry on his life in this 
way, says Tuka, will reach the goal of his life/' (Abg. 2999). 
His final advice, so far as this kind of negative ethics is con- 
cerned, is that one should never hope to carry on Prapaficha 
and J'aramartha together. "When one goes to a menagerie 
of buffaloes, one gets only eaten-up straw. He who expects to 
get good sleep on a couch filled with bugs is a fool. A drunken 
man is sure some day to rave naked, says Tuka" (Abg. 1008). 
51. Tukarama advises the spiritual aspirant to regard 

another man's wife as his mother, to 

Moral precepts for avoid censure of others, to throw away 

the spiritual aspirant, lust for other people's wealth, to sit at 

a place and meditate on God, to believe 
in the Saints, and to tell the truth. By these means, 
says Tuka, one can reach (Jod (Abg. 30). He else- 
where enumerates the obstacles in the way of spiritual life 
as being the flattery of men, the bargaining of money for 
spiritual matters, lust for another man's wife and wealth, 
hatred towards beings, egoism of the body, and forgetful ness 
of Uod. These he asks God to prevent from attacking him 
(Abg. 1807). "Some people," he says, "tease their body 
uselessly for the sake of spiritual realisation. They wear 
brown clothes ; but a dog is also brown. r l hey bear matted 
hair ; but a bear also has got matted hair. They live in 
caves ; but even rats live in caves. 1 hese people, says Tuka, 
tease their bodies for nothing" (Abg. 2982). "The body is 
both good and bad. We should rise superior to the body, 
and think of (Jod. If we look at it from one point of view, 
the body is a store-house of miseries, a mine of diseases, the 
birth-place of foulness, the unholy of unholies. From an- 
other point of view, the body is good and beautiful, the source 
of happiness, and a means of spiritual realisation. Yet, 


again, the body is merely a curdled product of menstrual 
blood, a net of desire and infatuation, and a prey to death. 
In another way, it is a pure thing, the treasure of treasures, 
the temple of God, the means for getting rid of worldly exist- 
ence. We should give neither happiness nor unhappiness 
to the body. The body is neither good nor bad. We should 
rise superior to it, and think of God" (Abg. 4113). "Tie, who 
cares for the body," says Tuka, " cares for honour and repute, 
and thus becomes a prey to evil and suffering Conscious- 
ness of honour puts a stop to further progress, nnd enthrals 
a man by tying a rope round his neck" (Abg. 2537). Tuka- 
rarna advises the spiritual aspirant to look upon pleasure and 
pain alike. "He may be a carrier of water at one time, and 
sleep on a costly couch at another. He may now eat dainties, 
and now again he may have to eat bread without salt. At one 
time, he may go in a palanquin, and at another lie may be 
obliged to go bare-footed. Once, he may wear rich clothes, at 

another time, worn-out rags The spiritual aspirant, 

says Tuka, should look upon pleasure and pain alike" (Abg. 
2040). Tukarama tells us not to tell a lie on any account 
whatsoever. u Even if a man were to help a, marriage by tell- 
ing a lie, he should not do it, because he would thereby merely 
go to hell. Dharma, the eldest of the I'andavas, lost his thumb 
for having told a lie. A man who has a lie in his heart, says 
Tuka, is bound to suffer" (Abg. 1021 ). He teaches that what is 
wanted is internal purity and not external purification. " Even 

if the body is purified outside, the mind is dirty inside It 

is full of untruth and hypocrisy. Be thou thy own spectator. 
Wear the sacred cloth in the shape of freedom from passion. 
Only then wilt thou be really pure" (Abg. 1551). "Holy 
waters do not cleanse the wickedness within. They cleanse 
only the external skin. The bitter Vrindavaua fruit will not 
lose its bitterness even if it be put into sugar. r l here is no use 
sobbing unless you have tranquillity, forgiveness, and com- 
passion" (Abg. 1131). "We should empty the heart of its 
contents, and then will God live in it. No other remedy is 
required, says Tuka, to see God. We should nip all our de- 
sires in the bud. Where desires end, God comes to inhabit," 
says Tuka (Abg. 907). He tells us elsewhere that for reaching 
God, one is required to kill all one's desires. One need not 
look at a mark with concentration. One need not give any- 
thing in charity, or undergo penance. One need not forsake 
actions due to one's natural caste. One should only take leave 
of his desires, and then one would be able to realise (rod (Abg. 
1405). In fact, if one meditates on God, Tukarama allows him 


the enjoyment of all things whatsoever. "One need not leave 
food, nor go to a forest. One should meditate on (Jod, and 
enjoy all things. A child sitting on the shoulder of its mother 
knows not the travail of walking. One need not consider what 
things to possess, and what things to abandon. One should 
only rest in God" (Abg. 810). Tukarama, does not even 
prevent a man from doing bad things, if by them one is able 
to reach God. One should not care for the preceptor's advice, 

if by that (Jod may stand at a distance r l he wives of the 

ancient Rishis disobeyed their husbands, and went food in 

hand to Kiishna I'rahlada made enmity with his father 

for the sake of (iod The wives of the cow-herds com- 
mitted adultery with (Jod. One should do even a bad deed, 
says Tuka, provided by it lie roaches (Jod ; and one should not 
do even a good deed by which (Jod may stand at distance" 
(Abg. 080). "The spiritual aspirant must always live in the 
company of the Saints, for other company may take away his 
mind from (Jod. If one goes to see anybody at all, he should 
go to see a Saint. If one lives in the company of anybody, 

it should be in the company of the Saints The Saints are 

an ocean of happiness, says Tuka. (Jod is their treasure. 
They speak no other language but oi (Jod. One should find rest 
only in the Saints" (Abg. 712). "One should not wait for a 
suitable opportunity to turn up to meditate on (Jod. One 
should begin immediately. One can never hope to be so 
unperturbed as to give oneself unmolested to mere meditation 
on (Jod. If a man says that lie will meditate on (Jod when 
matters are comparatively easy, that \\ill never come to pass" 
(Abg. 1181). "Whatever be the difficulties in which one 
may be placed, one should offer prayers to (Jod. One should 
call in the help of (Jod, when calamities befall him. Then (Jod 
will not wait, but ward o(T those calamities by his personal 
intervention. By meditation on (Jod's name, obstacles will 
vanish away in different directions. One need only surrender 
his life to (Jod" (Abg. 1(525). " r lhus (Jod should be the sole 
object of the aspirant's meditation, even in dreams and in 
sleep. 1 1 is mind should know no other object of contemplation. 
The natural bent of the senses should be in the direction of 
God, and the eyes should ever seek His vision" (Abg. 318). 

VI. The Teacher and the Disciple. 

52. In the opinion of Tukarama, he alone deserves to be a 
Spiritual Teacher, who regards his disciples as gods. 'He, 
who does not accept service from his disciples and regards 
them as gods, is alone worthy of being a Teacher In 


him alone does knowledge live, because he is indifferent to 

self. I tell the truth, says Tuka, and 

The teacher and the care n t for people who may become angry 

disciple. with me for saying so" (Abg. 881). U A 

spiritual teacher must not fatten his body. 

Unless the true mark of Sainthood has been generated in him, 

he is not worthy of making disciples. He who cannot swim 

himself should not make others catch hold of him in the 

waters If an exhausted man goes to another exhausted 

man, both of them will perish," says Tuka (Abg. 3122). "A 
false teacher makes his disciples look uninterruptedly at a 
mark, and tells them to sec the light by rubbing their eyes. 
He falsely teaches his disciples that he has thus enjoyed 
Samadhi, and deceives them He earns his live- 
lihood by teaching any falsehood he pleases He teaches 

his disciples to utter the name of the Guru himself" (Abg. 
3431 ). " His disciples, on the other hand, go from bad to worse, 
and take no account of castes. r l hey regard a holy man as a 
thorn in their way, and regard the pariah as a very spiritual 

man This Guru gives spiritual advice to concubines, 

children, and some foolish Brahmins r l^ c y all ?&*> to- 
gether, and say that such inter-dining takes them to abso- 
lution. Such Gurus and disciples both go to hell," says 
Tuka (Abg. 3432). k 'A true Guru therefore should not be 
merely worthy of his instruction, but should see that his 
disciples are also worthy of his instruction. One should never 
force one's spiritual advice upon others. Does not a 

juggler keep a monkey with him? He, who wastes 

seed in a place which is not wet with water, is a fool. I 
distribute spiritual advice like rain, says Tuka'" (Abg. J714). 

VII. The Name. 

53. The sole way to the realisation of God, according to 
Tukarfuna, is the constant repetition of 
The celebration of God's name. u Sit silent," says Tnka- 
God's Name as the way rfuna, "compose thy mind and make it 
to realisation. pure, and then happiness will know no 

bounds. God will certainly come and dwell 
in thy heart. r l his will be the result of thy long effort. Medi- 
tate time after time on God's name, Kama, Krishna, Huri. 
1 declare, says Tuka, that this will surely come to pass, if 
thou hast one-pointed devotion" (Abg. 1132). "The uttering 
of the name of God is indeed an easy way for reaching Him. 
One need not go to a distant forest. God will Himself come to 
the house of a Saint. One should sit at a place, concentrate 


his mind, invoke God with love, and utter His name time 
after time. I swear by God's name, says Tuka, that there is 
no other way for reaching God : indeed, this is the easiest of 
all ways" (Abg. 1698). "If we only utter the name of God, 
God will stand before us. In that way should we meditate on 
Him. He, who does not present Himself to the vision of the 
gods, dances when His devotee sings" (Abg. 2021). r l here are 
always difficulties which intervene before God is reached. 
These are dispelled by the power of devotion. " 1 he Name 
will lead to God if no obstacle intervenes. A fruit becomes 
ripe on a tree only if it is not plucked" (Abg. 695). "The ship 
of God's name," says Tuka, "will ultimately carry one across 
the ocean of life. It will save both the young and the old" 
(Abg. 2457). "All the different Sciences proclaim the supre- 
macy of the Name. r l he Vedas tell us that nothing but the 
Name of God shall save us. r l he different Sastras say the same 
thing, throughout the different Puranas, says Tuka, the 
same message is preached" (Abg. 3128). He alone who knows 
the efficacy of the Name, says Tuka, may be said to have 
grasped the inner meaning of the Vedas. "We alone know 
the real meaning of the Vedas ; others merely bear the burden 
of knowing. The man who sees is not the man who tastes. 
The man who bears the burden is not he who owns the burden. 
The secret of the creation, preservation, and destruction of 
the world is with God. We have found out the root, says 
Tuka. The fruit will now come of itself to hand" (Abg. 1549). 
Thero are some occasions when one does not know what one's 
duty is. In such a case, says Tukarama, we should utter 
the name of God. "We do not know what to do, and what 

not to do : we only know how to meditate on Thy feet 

We do not know where to go, and where not to go : we only 
know how to meditate on Thy name. By Thy making, says 
Tuka, sins become merits. By our making, says Tuka, merits 
become sins" (Abg. 8307). "Thus determinately and re- 
solutely should one meditate on God by means of His Name. 
Let the head break off, or let the body fall, we should not 
leave off the celebration of God's Name. Even if we are 
fasting for a week, we should not fail to sing the Name of 
(Sod. If the head breaks, or the body is cut in twain, we 
should not fail in the celebration of Cod's Name. He alone, 
who determinately utters the Name of God, says Tuka, will 
be able to find God" (Abg. 3258). 

54. Tukarama next goes on to discuss the physical and 
mental eilects of meditation-oil the Name. " When 1 utter Thy 
pame, my mind becomes composed. r l he tongue enjoys 


a stream of ambrosia. Good omens of all kinds take place. 

The mind is coloured in Thy vision, and 

Bodily and mental becomes steady on Thy feet One 

effects of meditation becomes as satisfied as if one has taken 
on the Name. a dainty meal. Desires come to an end, 

and words come out of the mouth as of 
complete satisfaction. Happiness meets happiness, and there 
is no limit to blessedness" (Abg. 880). '1 ukarama repeats 
the same idea elsewhere. "The whole body feels cool when 
one meditates on the Name. The senses forget their move- 
ments By the sweet nectar-like love of God, one is full 

of energy and all kinds of sorrow depart immediately" (Abg. 
1543). "The body which was hitherto unclean, becomes 
lustrous by the power of the Name, the mind Is purified, and 
repentance puts a stop to one's accumulated Karma" (Abg. 
3997). " The evil passions are conquered ; all the im- 
pulses are nipped in the bud by the power of the Name. Tuka 
looks at Hod's feet, and waits for His answer" (Abg. 3302). 
55. The moral effects of uttering the Name, Tukararna is 

never wearied of describing. 1 he utter- 

The moral effects unce of the Name, he tells us, brings 

of meditation on the with it exceeding merit. "He who utters 

Name. the name of (Jod while walking, gets 

the merit of a Sacrifice at every stop. 
Blessed is his body. It is itself a place of pilgrimage. 
He who says God while doing his work, is always merged 
in Samadhi. He who utters the name of (Jod while eating, 
gets the merit of a fast even though he may have taken his 
meals. He who utters the name of (Jod without intermission 
receives liberation though living' 1 (Abg. 3<>07). "Even if 
one were to give in charity the whole encircled by the 

seas, that cannot equal the merit of uttering the Name 

A repetition of all the Vedas cannot equal one Name of God. 
All places of pilgrimage have no value before God's Name. 
All sorts of bodily toils jare useless before the Name of God" 
(Abg. 1581). "By the power of the Name of God, one shall 
come to know what one docs not know. One shall see what 
cannot be seen. One will be able to speak what cannot be 
spoken. One shall meet what cannot be ordinarily met. 
Incalculable will be the gain of uttering the Name," says 
Tuka (Abg. 2220). Yet, again, Tukarama says in another 
place: "Untold benefits will accrue if we sing the Name of 
God in solitude. We should pacify our desires, and should 
not give room to any passions. We should not waste 
words, but should utter the Name, which is as the arrow which 


will hit the mark" (Abg. 1093). The Name of God, 
says Tukarama, will save us from all difficulties. " Enclose 
the Name of God in your mouth. Think constantly of what 
is valuable and what is not valuable. By meditation on God, 
all difficulties will vanish. We shall thus be able to cross the 

uncrossable ocean of life The whole lineage will become 

pure, says Tuka, by the utterance of God's Name" (Abg. 
;*137). The medicine of God's name, we are told elsewhere, 
destroys the disease of life. ". Drink the medicine of God's 
Name, and all your agonies will cease. Partake of nothing 
but the Name of God. Kven the disease of life will thus vanish, 
not to speak of other small diseases" (Abg. 1384). Tuka- 
rama tells us elsewhere that in this perishable life, the only 
rest is in the name of (Jod. ur i he body is subject to all kinds 
of accidents, good and bad. Its happiness and sorrow are 
both evanescent. The only thing to be achieved in this life 

is love towards God The only rest, says Tuka, in this 

mortal existence is in the constant remembrance of God's 
Name (Abg. 1859). One will even he able to confer spiritual 
obligations upon others by uttering God's Name. " One should 
not flutter about, but should remain steady, believing in the 
efficacy of God\s Name. (Jod will give you imperishable 
happiness, and the round of incarnations will cease. You 
will even be able to confer obligations upon others. That 
itself will be a great asset. The Name of God will save you 
in this life as well as in the next. If you leave off the pursuit 
of evanescent things, says Tuka, you will attain to incalculable 
bliss" (Abg. 070). "The sweetness of the Name is inde- 
scribable. The tongue soon gets averse to other kinds of 
flavours ; but the flavour of the" Name increases every moment. 
Other medicines lead you to death ; but this medicine relieves 
you of death. God lias become our constant food, says Tuka" 
(Abg. 11 08). Tukarama is so completely satisfied with the 
utterance of the Namo that he is not desirous of anything else. 
Tie tells God that he has no desire for anything except His 
name. All kinds of powers which may accrue in contem- 
plation are useless before the power of devotion. Tuka says 
that, by the power of the Name, he will easily go to heaven, 
and will enjoy complete bliss (Abg. 2.31). Finally, the 
sweetness of God's Name, Tukaraina tells us, cannot be 
known by God Himself. "Does a lotus plant know the 
fragrance of its flowers ( It is the bee which tastes of its 
fragrance. The cow eats grass ; but the calf alone knows 
the sweetness of her milk. The oyster shell cannot enjoy 
its own pearls ; similarly, says Tiika, God does not know 

21 F 


the sweetness of the Name, which only the devotees can 
experience" (Abg. 233). 

VIII. The Kirtana. 

56. There is another way to the realisation of God one 

closely related to the celebration of the 

Kirtana, as a way Name. It is what may be called the 

of realising God. "Kirtana", or the singing of the praises 

of God, either in the abstract, or in His 

concrete manifestations in human life. Tukarama was given 

to the celebration of the Kirtana like many other Saints. " The 

Kirtana/' says Tuka, "is the meditation of God Himself 

There is no merit on earth which is equal to that of the Kirtana. 
Believe me, says Tuka, God stands up where Kirtana is being 
performed. . . . A man who performs the Kirtana not only saves 
himself, but also others. Without doubt, says Tuka, one can 
meet God by performing a Kirtana" (Abg. 1604). Hence, 
anybody who disbelieves in the Kirtana merely ruins himself. 
"The words of one who does not believe in the Kirtana of 
God are unwholesome ; his ears arc like a rat's hole. Vainly 
do such people leave away sacred nectar, and follow after 
insignificant things. Vainly do people go astray, and become 
mad in their endeavour, says Tuka" (Abg. 3381). "He alone 
attends a Kirtana who wishes to uplift himself. Nobody 
asks an ant to go where sugar is to be found. A beggar seeks 
out a donor of his own accord. He who is hungry goes and 
finds out food. He who suffers from a disease, goes of his 
own accord to the house of a doctor. He who wishes to up- 
lift himself, says Tuka, never fails to attend a Kirtana" (Abg. 
1620). Tukarama only prays that his body may be kept 
sound, in order that it might help him in the singing of God's 
praise. "A Kirtana requires soundness of limbs. Do not 
allow my limbs to grow weak, O God. T do not mind if my 
life is cut short. But so long as I live, let me be sound, says 
Tuka, in order that I may pray to Thee " (Abg. 4023). 

57. Tukarama often likens Kirtana to a river. In one place, 
he tells us that it is a river which 
Kirtana is a river flows upwards to wards God. "The Kirtana 
which flows upwards is a stream of nectar flowing before God. 
towards God. It wends upwards, and is the crown of all 

holy thingg. It is the life-blood of Siva 
and burns up all kinds of sins. The gods themselves describe 
its power, says Tuka" (Abg. 3382). In another place, he de- 
scribes Kirtana as a confluence of three rivers. "It is a con- 
fluence where God and Devotee and the Name meet together. 


The very sands at the place are holy. Mountains of sins are 
burnt by its power. It spreads holiness among all men and 
women. Holy places come to it to be purified. It is more sacred 
than the sacred days. Its holiness is incomparable, and the 
gods themselves are unable to describe the happiness pro- 
duced by it" (Abg. 1605). 

58. What, according to Tukarama, are the requirements of 

a man who performs a Kirtana ? u If I 

Requirements of a man were to perform a Kirtana by accepting 
who performs Kirtana. money for it, let, God, my body be 

destroyed. Jf I were to request anybody 
to arrange for my Kirtana, let, () God, my tongue fall down, 
Thou art our helper, and there is nothing lacking before 
Thee. Why should I waste my words before others ? At 
Thy feet are all powers, and Thou art my Lord" (Abg. 3138). 
"Where one performs a Kirtana, one should not take food. 
One should not have his forehead besmeared with fragrant 
scent. One should not allow himself to be garlanded by 
flowers. One should not ask for grain or for grass for a horse 
or a bullock. They, who give money, and they who accept 
money, says Tuka, both of them go to hell" (Abg. 2250). In 
this way, Tukarama tells us that pecuniary bargains are an 
obstacle to spiritual progress. 

59. Tukarama tells us very often that the power imparted 

by a Kirtana is indescribable. "Great is 

Great is the power the power of Song," says Tuka. "This 

of Song. evidently is Thy grace. Allow me to 

consecrate my life to Thy service. Let 
my mind be so filled by Thy love that there may be neither any 
ebb nor any flow to it. Let my words be a mine of sweet 
nectar, says Tuka" (Abg. 300). He elsewhere tells us that 
the joy of Kirtana is indescribable. "The Saints have told 
us an easy secret : they have asked us to dance with Tala 
and Dindl in our hands. The happiness of ecstasy is as nothing 
before this happiness of a Kirtana. It continually grows, and 
one is merged in it by the power of his devotion. No doubts 
now harass his mind, the mind becomes tranquil, and all 
kinds of misery vanish immediately" (Abg. 766). Tukarama 
tells us that there is no entrance for the messengers of Death 
where a Kirtana is being performed. "Death tells his mes- 
sengers (Jo not to the place where the Name is being cele- 
brated. You have not power over that place. You do not 
go to the place where the Name-bearers live. Go not even to 
its outskirts. r lhe great disc of God moves round and wards 
off all dangers. God Himself stands as a door-keeper at the 


place with a bludgeon and the moving disc in His hands 

The Saints are the most powerful beings on earth -so says 
Death to his servants" (Abg. 1(>08). While a Kirtana is 
being performed, nothing can cause fear to the Saints. "(Jod 
is before, and behind. Why need the Saints fear anything at 
all ? Dance with the power of joy, and allow not your mind 
to be tossed by doubts. TIow can Death come and have 
power before (Sod ? When the all-powerful Mod is present, 
what can be lacking to the Saints?" (Abg. 350). Tukfirama 
tells us that he is always boating the cymbals, and dancing in 
joy for (Jod. He has been telling people that there is really no 
fear before (Jod. He has been singing and dancing in tune 
with Tajas and Bells. Fear can do nothing to us, says Tuka, 
for (Jod comes before us" (Abg. 357). .Finally, we are told 
that the merit of Kirtana is superior to the merit of any 
penance, or the counting of beads. u For, in Kirtana/ 1 says 
Tukarama, "God is verily present. Believe these words of 
mine, and allow not your mind to wander. All ecstasy and 
all penance live, says Tuka, by the power of Kirtana" (Abg. 

IX. Bhakti. 

60. Generally speaking, meditation on the Name, or per- 
formance of a Kir tana, are merely external 
God cannot be reached marks of an internal devotion or Bhakti. 
except through Love. Tukfirfnna tells us that when a man has 
this Bhakti, he may be said to have 
performed all religious functions whatsoever. "When a 
man has placed his mind, and words, and body at 'I hy 
service, there is no duty for him which he need perform. 

Why need he worship any stones? Why need he 

bathe in the holy waters? What sins can he lie relieved 
thereby? I have submitted all my desires to 1 hee, and have 

conquered all sin and merit When the body has been 

made over to Thee, one need only rest silent in contentment/* 
(Abg. 1183). "Jn this way, the Jihaktimfirga,/' says Tukfl, 
"is the only easy pathway in this age. All other ways have 
been useless. (Jod Vitthala, stands up, raises his arm, and 
calls his servants to duty. Those who believe in 'dim will 
cross the ocean of life. Others, who do not believe, shall go 
to ruin'' (Abg. 15cS2). r lukarfuna tells us also that the trans- 
personal Cod cannot be reached except through love. "(>od 
has no form, nor any name, nor any place, where He can be 
seen; but wherever you go. you see (od. He has neither 
form nor transformation ; but He fills the whole world. He is 


neither impersonal nor personal ; but is beyond all knowledge. 
This (Jod, says Tukii. cannot be attained except through love" 
(Abg. 21-18). In fact, (Jod does not care for anything except 
love. He does not care for a sweet voice : he only looks to 
the heart within. fck lf (Jod has not given us a sweet voice and 
if we cannot speak sweetly, let us not be afraid. Cod does not 
care for these attainments. Say Hama, Krishna, Tlari as you 
can. Demand of (Jod a pure love for Jlim, and a belief in Him" 
(Abg. 7). u ()ne need not worship stones, or brass, or any 
kind of images. What is required is pure devotion. That is 
the way to liberation. What is the use of these rosaries, and 
these garlands ? Why need we care for a learned voice ? Why 
need we care for a beautiful song '( If we have no devotion, 
(Jod will not care for us, says TukSi" (Abg. 2054). Let a man 
believe fully, and he will be saved by (Jod. " He who attempts 
to know (Jod at the cost of his life shall be saved by (Jod. 
Then; is no doubt that he will reach the other side of existence. 
Blessed is he who believes; for in him alone (Jod lives. (Jod 
becomes the bond-servant of those, says Tukii, who blindly 
believe in Him" (Abg. 4028). Absence of real devotion 
makes (Jod stand away from those who entertain doubt and 

fear (Jod stands away from those who cannot sacrifice 

their life for (Jod. (Jod stands away from those who speak 
vain words without any leal sacrifice,.' (Jod knows the hearts 
of all, and will reward them as they deserve'' (Abg. 3874). 
61. Tukarama employs various images to describe the 

devotee's love for (Jod. In one place, 

Images to describe he tells us that a devotee should throw 

the relation of Devotee himself on (Jod, as a Sati on her husband. 

to God. " When a Sat! sees the cremation fire of 

lier husband, her hair stand on end in 

joy She does not look at her family, and her wealth. 

She does not weep. She only remembers her husband, and 
throws herself in the funeral pyre" (Abg. 1245). Kven so must 
a devotee throw himself in Uod. In another place, he says, 
we should fall straight into Brahman, as a fly flies into a flame. 
"If we want to enjoy (Jod, we should lop off our head from 
our body, and hold it in our hands. We should set all our 
belongings on fire, and should not look behind. We should 
be as bold, says Tuka, as a fly, which falls straight into a 
flame" (Abg. 3414). In a third pi are, he tells us that the 
devotee's spirit should rise to (Jod like a fountain. "As a 
fountain rises upwards, even so must one's spirit rise to God. 
One should entertain no idea whatsoever, except that of (iod" 
(Abg. 801). Only then would we be able to reach God. Fourthly, 


he tells us that we should as much love to hear of God's praises, 
as a mother of her son's exploits. "As a mother is delighted 
to hear the good news of her son, even so must our mind be 
delighted to hear of God's praise. We must forget bodily con- 
sciousness like a deer which is infatuated by music. We must 
look up to God, as the young ones of a tortoise look up to their 
mother" (Abg. 3426). In fact, the mind that is engrossed 
in God should think only of God, and of nothing else. "One 
should know, and yet know not, being merged in the love of 
God. One should live in this life uncontaminated by it, as a 
lotus-leaf lives in water uncontaminated by its drops. Praise 
and censure must fall on his ears as if he were engaged in a 
state of ecstasy. One should see the world and yet not see it, 
as if he were in a dream. Unless this happens, says Tuka, 
whatever a man may do is of no avail" (Abg. 2179). 

X. Castes. 

Tukarama teaches us that the castes have no signi- 
ficance for God-realisation. A man may 
Caste not recognised belong to any caste whatsoever. If he 
in God-devotion. only devotes himself to the servic.e 
of God, he will be regarded as holy. 
"Holy is the family, and holy the country where 
the servants of God are born. They have devoted 
themselves to God, and by them all the three worlds become 
holy. Pride of caste has never made any man holy, says 
Tuka. 1 he untouchables have crossed the ocean of life by 

God-devotion, and the Puranas sing their praises Gora, 

the potter, Rohidasa, the shoe-maker, Kabira, the Muslim, Sena, 

the barber, Kanhopatra, the concubine Chokhamcla, the 

outcast Janabai, the maid have all become unified 

with God by their devotion. The Vedas and the Sastras 
have said that for the service of God, castes do not matter. 
Inquire into the various works, says Tuka, and you will find 
that unholy men become holy by God-devotion" (Abg. 3241). 
"Musk looks ugly," says Tuka, " but its essence is wonderful. 
The sandal trees present no good appearance, but their frag- 
rance spreads all round. A Parisa is ugly to look at, but it 
creates gold. A sword when melted does not bring a pie ; 
but by its own quality, it sells for a thousand coins. Castes 
do not matter, says Tuka, it is God's Name that matters" 
(Abg. 2194). "The cow eats all kinds of dung ; but it is yet 
holy. r lhe brooks that enter into a river become identified 
with it. The holy Pippala is born of the crow's excreta. The 
family of the Pancjavas was not a holy one Ajamela, 


Kubja and Vidura were not born of a high caste. Valha, 
Visvamitra, Vasishtha and Narada cannot boast of a high 
lineage. Whatever unholy deeds are committed by men and 
women, when they remember God with repentance, they 
become free from sins' 3 (Abg. 122). "A Brahmin who does 
not like the Name of God, is not a Brahmin. 1 tell you, says 
Tuka, that when he was born, his mother had committed 

adultery with a Mahara " (Abg. 70(5). "An outcast 

who loves the Name of God is verily a Brahmin. In him 
have tranquillity and forbearance, compassion and courage, 
made their home. When all the different passions have left a 
man's mind, he is as good as a Brahmin, says Tuka" (Abg. 
707). Even though Tukarama generally holds such opinions, 
he elsewhere respects a Brahmin because he is born a Brahmin. 
"Even if a she-ass gives milk, will she be equal to a cow ? 
Even if a crow's neck is decorated by flowers, can it equal a 
swan ? Even if a monkey bathes and puts a Tilaka on its 
forehead, can it equal a Brahmin ? A Brahmin, says Tuka, 
even though he is fallen from his high station, must yet be 
respected" (Abg. 2223). Finally, Tukarama tells us that 
we must recognise the difference of castes while we are living in 
this world. The difference, says Tukarama, vanishes only in 
the ecstatic state. "1 tell you, U Saints, that the different 
castes have been born of the same Being according to their 

merits and demerits The mango tree, the jujube tree, the 

fig tree, and the sandal tree are different so long as they are not 
reduced to cinders in the same fire. The difference of castes 
must be taken into account, says Tuka, until it vanishes in the 
ecstatic state" (Abg. 920). 

XL The God of Pandharapur. 

63. Tt cannot be gainsaid that Tukarama for a long while 
looked upon Vitthala, the Gal of Pan- 
Description of the God dharapur, as the cynosure of his eyes. 

of Pandharapur. Jt was only later that he began to find 
that God was everywhere. Tukarama, 
however, always tried to place before the mind's eye of the 
people some concrete object for worship, and this he succeeded 
in doing by calling them to the worship of Vitthala. "My 
heart pants," he says, "for seeing the face of the God of 
Pandharapur. The God who stands on a brick at Pandhara- 
pur with his beautiful form, has ravished my heart. My 
eyes can never be too much satisfied by looking at Him. My 
life-breath seems to take leave of my body if I am unable for 
a while to see the beautiful face of God. My mind has been 


ravished, says Tuka, by the son of Nanda, who has the Eagle 
for His banner" (Abg. 1700). Tukarama tells us that neither 
any wealth nor any happiness pleases him. His mind is 
always set after going to Panclharapiir. When shall the II th 
day of Ashadha dawn, he asks, so that he may be able to go 
to Pandhari? It is only when a man is anxious to see (.Jod, 
says Tuka, that (Jod is anxious to meet him (Abg. 1600). 
"The Saints have planted aloft the banner of (Jod. I look 
at that banner as ITis ensign, and lose myself in His name. 
If you go by the path indicated by the banner of God, 
you will surely be able to find (Jod" (Abg. 287 1). "This is 
verily the pathway by which the Saints of old have gone. 
Mythologies tell us that we must not go by unbeaten paths. 
The way to (Jod is so bright and straight, that nobody need 
ask any other man about it. Banners are Hying aloft, and 
the eagle ensign is shining in the air, says Tuka" (Abg. 188). 
Hitherto many have walked by the way which loads to Pan- 
dharapur. "We have heard of many people who have har- 
boured the Name of (Jod in their minds. They have crossed 
the ocean of life, and have gone to the other shore. Let us 
go by the very same way as much as may lie within our power. 
The ferry which has carried them has been reserved for us, and 
there shall now be no delay. We need not pay even a farthing 
for it. We need only have devotion. The ferry is on the 
banks of the Bhima. Let us swim by it to where (Jod is 
waiting and standing straight to receive us" (Abg. ytJSIJ). 
"The ferry is now on the banks of the ('handrabhaga. Take 
away the infinite booty of (!od\s wealth, () Saints ! The banner 
of God's Name is flying aloft. Tukarama is a porter on the 
ferry, but (Jod carries his load" (Abg. 1)1)3). "When we 
reach the other shore of the Chandrabhaga, (Jod is standing 
there to exchange love for weariness. The poverty and hunger 
of the people shall disappear. The most generous of gods, 
the (iod of Pandhari, raises His arm, and makes you a sign to 
approach. He shall embrace the ignorant more than the 

wise We are the helpless, we are the poor in spirit, says 

Tuka, and (Jod will protect us" (A\bg. 1427). When we go 
to the temple of Pandhari, the image disappears, and infinite 
light takes its place. The (Jod of Pandhari is merely the exter- 
nal symbol of an all-immanent light. "The light within, which 
had remained hitherto hidden, will now begin to appear. r lhe 
whole universe cannot contain the bliss of the moment. What 
happiness can be compared to it ? The (Jod, who is standing 
on the brick, is an external symbol of our devotion, though 
he is Himself impersonal, says Tuka" (Abg. 2069). "The God 


of Pandhari is a manifestation of Krishna, who as a child 
lived in the house of Nanda, and who could show the whole 
universe within 'Himself. Him who gave satisfaction to the 
whole world, Yasoda was trying to feed. Him who filled the 
whole universe, the cow-herd women were taking on their la]). 
Verily of various wiles is this God, says Tuka, Who keeps His 
celibacy intact in spite of His enjoyment' ' (Abg. 3747). " God 
Vitthala indeed is a great thief. He has taken the net of 
devotion in His hands, and has come to Pandhari. He has 
deceived the whole world, and does not allow Himself to be 
seen. He raises His hand, and ensnares the eyes of those who 
wish to see Him. This thief has boeii brought by Pundalika 
to Pandhari. Let us go, says r luka, and catch hold of Him" 
(Abg. 442). Pundalika himself, says Tukarama, has become 
arrogant by the power of his devotion, and has made Vitthala 
stand up. "'Ihou hast become arrogant by the love of Vit- 
thala, () Pundnlika! How audacious that you throw away a 
brick, and make Vitthula stand on it. God is standing there 
for such a length of time, and yet you do not ask Him to sit 
down" (Abg. 2<Mif>). " The ghost of Pandhari/' says Tuka- 
rama, "is indeed a powerful ghost, and possesses everybody 
who goes that way. Verily full of goblins is this forest, and 
the mind becomes possessed when it goes there. (Jo not there, 
says Tuka, for those who go there do not return. Tuka went 
to Pamlhuri and never came back to life" (Abg. 3115). One 
need not aspire after going to heaven : one need only go to 
Pandharapfir, says Tukarama. "(Jo to Pandhari, and become 
a Varakari. Why dost thou aspire after heaven, if thou 
goest to the sand-banks of Pandharapur ? Tukarama falls 
prostrate before the Saints who bear the banner of God on 
their shoulders, put on garlands of the Tulasi plant on their 
necks, and besmear their foreheads by the sweet scent that 
is sacred to God" (Abg. 2248). 

XII. Tukarama's Theism. 

64. Jt is an easy passage from the worship of God in this 

manner to a theistic view of the God-head 

The Personal superior which does not allow formlessness to the 

to the Impersonal. object of worship. Tukarama tells us 

often that he would not allow God to be 

formless. "Be formless as others desire; but for me take 

Thou on a form, God ! 1 have fallen in love with Thy 

name. J)o not suffer my devotion to wane. Thou mayest 
hold out for me the bait of liberation : but go and deceive 
the philosophers by that bait. I tell Thee that Thou shouldst 


not allow the stream of my devotion to grow dry" (Abg. 
2410). "We have slighted liberation for this sake, and are 
content to re-incarnate again and again. The nectar of de- 
votion only increases our desire from day to day. We have 
made God to take on a form, and shall not allow Him to 
become Impersonal" (Abg. 1116). Tukarama tells us that 
God is obliged to take on a form in fear of His devotees. 
"'A bee can pierce a hard tree; but it is enclosed by a little 
flower. Love is bound by love, and is encased in its bonds. 
A little child makes even an elderly parent powerless by its 
love. God, says Tuka, is obliged to take on a form in fear 
of His devotee" (Abg. 1282). 

65. As Tukarama does not allow God to become form- 

less, so he does not allow man, howso- 

He who says he ev ^ r high and magnanimous he may be, 

has become God is a to identify himself with God. "Thou 

fool. shouldst be my Lord, and I Thy servant. 

Thy place should be high, and my place 

low Water does not swallow water. A tree does not 

swallow its fruits. A diamond appears beautiful on account 
of its setting. Gold looks beautiful when it is transformed 

into ornaments Shade gives pleasure when there is the 

Sun outside. A mother gives out milk when there is a child 
to partake of it. What happiness can there be when one 
meets oneself ? I am happy, says Tuka, in the belief that T 
am not liberated" (Abg. 595). And thus he, who calls him- 
self God, is a fool. "Some say that they have become gods ; 
but these will surely go to hell. God has lifted up the earth : 
a man cannot lift even a bag of rice. God has killed great 
demons : a man cannot cut even a piece of straw. He who 
aspires to the throne of God, says Tuka, hides a mine of sins" 
(Abg. 3274). He who says that he has seen God is also a 
fool. "He is the greatest of rogues who says that he has seen 
God. How can the bonds of existence be unloosed by the 
advice of such a man ? He drowns himself as well as others. 
There is no fool on this'earth, says Tuka, comparable to him 9 
who calls himself God" (Abg. 2064). 

66. Tukarama prizes the service of the feet of God more 

than an Advaitic identification with Him. 
Service of God's feet " Advaitism pleases me not" says Tuka. 

superior to an Advaitic "Give me the service of Thy feet 

identification with God. Reserve for me the relation between God 

and devotee, and fill me with happiness" 
(Abg. 2884). He tells us also that he does not want 
Self-knowledge. He only wishes to be God's devotee, and 


talk with Him. "I do not want Self-knowledge. Make 
me a devotee of Thine, God ! Show me Thy form, 
and let me place my head on Thy feet. I shall look 
at Thee, shall embrace Thee, and shall sacrifice my body for 
Thee. When Thou askest, I shall speak with Thee good things 
in solitude" (Abg. 3308). Tukarama repeats the idea elsewhere 
also. "I do not want Self-identity, " he says, "I want the 
service of Thy feet. Let me be Thy servant from life to life. 
What value has Liberation for me which does not sus- 
tain the sweet relation between God and Saint ? How shall 
the Impersonal please me, asT cannot see His face?" (Abg. 
2709). Even Videhamukti Tukarama identifies with the 
service of the Lord. "We shall always sing the Name of God, 
and keep our mind content. We dance with joy, and have 
no idea even of our own existence. We enjoy the Videha 
state even during life. We are verily made of fire, says Tuka, 
and shall dispel sin and merit alike" (Abg. 3229). 

67. As Tukarama supposes that the service of God is 

superior to unification with Him, so he 

Rebirth superior to also supposes that re-incarnation is supe- 

Absolution. *ior to the state of liberation. "Hear my 

prayer, () God. I do not want absolution. 
For, the happiness that springs from devotion is superior 

to the happiness that can spring from absolution 

The happiness of heaven has an end ; but the happiness of 
the Name is infinite. Thou canst not know the greatness of 
Thy Name, says Tuka ; hence it is that Thy devotees long for 
re-incarnation" (Abg. 910). "Let me safely incarnate," says 
Tukarama elsewhere, "if I can constantly sing the praises of 
God, and if I can always live in the company of the Good. 
Then shall I not mind the trouble involved in re-incarnation 
time after time" (Abg. 1589). Re-incarnation is also desirable, 
says Tuka, if one can become a Varakari. "T shall take on a 
new birth," says Tukarama, "if 1 can become a Varakari 
of Pandhari. This is what I have personally experienced. 
Hence it is that I have sacrificed all other things for Thy sake ' ' 
(Abg. 1652). 

68. In fact, says Tukarama, all things depend on God. 

With His great power, what can He not 

The Omnipotence of do ? God indeed is the universal mover. He 

God. moves the body as well as the universe. 

" Who makes this body move ? Who can 

make us speak except God Himself ? Tt is God only who can 

make us hear or see He alone can continue the mind in 

its egoism. He it is who can make even the leaf of a tree 


move God has filled the Whole inside and outside. 

What can be lacking to Him in His universal presence ?" 
(Abg. 3038). Man's business is only to rest in Cod, and to 
carry on his work without asking anything from Him. "Let the 
body be delivered over to God, and God will do as He pleases. 
He is the support of the whole world, and will bring about the 
proper thing at the proper moment. In this faith should we 
grow strong, says Tuka" (Abg. 2229). u We should have no 
other belief except this. God is all-powerful, and can 
achieve anything whatsoever. Why need a man care for 
anything at all ? He who pervades the universe, and directs 
the will, what can JJe not accomplish ?" (Abg. 1 174). What 
little power Tukarama has, he says, is due to God. When the 
Saints had praised him for having possessed power, Tuka- 
rama said that it was not his power, but God's. "Why do you 
burden me, () Saints, by attributing power to me '( The doll 
cannot act in the absence of the puller. ( 1 ould the monkeys 
have made the stones swim on the ocean in the absence of God ? 
It is God who is the only mover. Everything else is inani- 
mate in comparison, and God only uses it for His purposes" 
(Abg. 2057). 

69. If God is omnipotent, man need ask whatever lie 

desires of God alone. What is lacking 

God favours people to God, asks Tukarama., that a man should 

according to their J je g f another? "In God, nothing is 

deserts. lacking, and the wandering beggar moves 

like a dog from door to door. He recites 
one passage after another only in order to gain a farthing. 
He praises some and censures others, and is full of anxiety 
at heart. The only fate which such a man deserves, says 
Tukarama, is that his face should be burnt in fire" (Abg. 13J)i). 
" Let us therefore ask whatever we desire of God alone. What is 
lacking to Him, whom all Powers serve ? We must sacrifice 
our mind and body and speech to God. He who supports 
the whole universe cannot help supporting us" (Abg. 1392). 
Only, God favours people according to their deserts. "Rain 
pours down of its own accord ; but the earth brings forth 

fruit according to its quality. Like seed, like crop To 

a lamp, the master of the house and the thief are both alike. 
A crow feeds upon a bullock's bone ; the Tittira bird feeds 
upon pebbles; while the swan feeds upon pearls. .. .God 
indeed favours people according to their deserts" (Abg. 1320). 
"Nobody can withstand the will of God. King Harischandra 
and his wife Tarfi served as drawers of water in the house of 
a pariah. The Pandavas, who were the beloved of God, were 


dethroned from their place. Our business is merely to 
sit silent, and watch the progress of events" (Abg. 1031). 
And when it is said that God favours people according to their 
deserts, it follows that we must cultivate goodness and avoid 
evil. To Tukarama, evil has a reality in this world. "The 
fire may serve to ward off cold ; but you cannot gather it in 
the hem of your garment. Scorpions and serpents may in- 
deed be God ; but we must respect them at a distance, and not 
touch them" (Abg. 637). "From the same ciirds come out 
both butter and butter-milk ; but the two cannot be priced 
at the same value. On the sky appear both the moon and the 
stars ; but both are not of equal lustre. From the same earth 
come pebbles and diamonds ; but the two cannot be priced 
equally. Similarly, says Tuka, Saints and Sinners are both 
men ; but we cannot worship the two alike" (Abg. 1730). 

XIII. God's Office for the Saints. 

70. God lias a particular fascination for His Saints. They 

have made (!od the all-in-all of their 

God's Office (or the life. True servants as they are, they 

Saints. are not be afraid of their Master. "Why 

need a true servant be afraid of his master ? 

Tn arguing with his master, a true servant feels "greater and 

greater delight. When one feels that he is in the right, he need 

not he afraid of anybody" (Abg. 283). Moreover, a true Saint 

has dedicated all his powers to God. "Whatever powers 

there may be with us, we shall place them at the service of the 

Lord. We have delivered over our life to God, and have 

wiped of? considerations of life and death. What now remains 

is God only. He it is who eats, He it is who speaks, He it is 

who sings,' and lie it is who dances, says Tuka" (Abg. 795). 

" Shall not God who supports the whole world give support 

to a Saint in time of need ? Why need not a Saint rest 

content in the belief that God will support him ? Why should 

he not remember the kindness of the Lord who caters for the 

whole world, who creates milk in the mother's breasts for the 

child and makes the two grow together ? Trees put forth new 

foliage in summer. Tell me now who waters them ? 

Remember Him who is called the All-supporting, for He will 

certainly support thee" (Abg. 1593). " In the bosom of a 

stone there is a frog. Who feeds this frog but God ? The 
birds and the serpents do not lay by anything. Who finds 
food for them except God ? When thou hast thrown all thy 
burden on God, Ocean of Compassion as He is, He shall 
not neglect thee" (Abg. 290). In this sure belief of the power 


of the all- supporting God, we should rest content and not beg 
before men. For begging before men means disbelief in God. 
" Shame to the man who takes the begging bowl in his hand. 
God should neglect such a fellow. He has no devotion for 
God in his heart, and shows merely a devotional exterior. 
Not to deliver over one's life to God is to commit adultery 
with Him. What a great misfortune and what a great dis- 
belief in God, that in poverty of spirit a man should throw 
his burden upon the world F' (Abg. 858). God does not indeed 
neglect a devotee who is prepared to go to the uttermost 
extreme of penance for Him. "One should throw away all 
sense of shame, and invoke God by the power of one's devotion. 
One should catch hold of trees, partake of their leaves, and 
invoke God. One should sew together rags of cloth, cover 
one's loins with them, and invoke the grace of God. A man 
who goes to this length in seeking God shall never be neglected 
by Him" (Abg. 1729). "He who follows God, shall never be 
left by Him in the lurch. Near his body and near his mind, 
God stands as an eternal witness, and gives him as he de- 
serves" (Abg. 3910). "And devotees wait upon God only be- 
cause they firmly believe that no devotee can come to naught. 
They raise their hands and invoke God to come to their help 

" (Abg. 1073). "And God does really come to their 

rescue. What is, however, wanted is patience. God shall 
never leave His Saints uncared-for. Sing, O Saints, in joy, 
says Tuka. God's great power will turn away the predations 
of Death. Is not the mother prepared to go to the uttermost 
extreme in saving her child when it is attacked with a disease ? 
God indeed is greater than the mother. I have personally 
experienced, says Tuka, that true devotion is ever crowned 
with success" (Abg. 665). Occasionally, God takes pleasure 
in throwing His devotees in the midst of difficulties. " God is 
very cruel," says Tuka. "He has no affection and mercy 

He deprived Harischandra of his kingdom, 

separated Nala and Damayanti, tried King Sibi's genero- 
sity, asked Karna for charity at a critical occasion, 

deprived Bali of all his wealth, and made Sri- 

yala kill his own son. Those who devotedly worship Thee, 
O God, Thou compellest to renounce all pleasure in life" 
(Abg. 105). "But, ultimately, God does ward off all evil 
from His Saints. He comes to their rescue all of a sudden. 
He seems to be nowhere, and yet comes all at once. He 
reserves happiness for His devotees, and takes for Himself 
their lot of sorrow" (Abg. 264). "His devotees need not, 
therefore, entertain any fear or anxiety They should 


only maintain courage, bear courageously the buffets of fortune, 

and God will show Himself near them, because, in fact, 

He fills the whole world" (Abg. 328). "When Death is 
before and behind, one should not run, for one's efforts will 
be of no avail. One should only invoke God, and God will 
come and take His devotee on His shoulders" (Abg. 781). "For, 
who shall kill him whom God saves ? Such a one may wander 
bare-footed in the whole forest, and yet not a single thorn 
may pierce his feet. He cannot be drowned in water. He 
cannot be killed by poison. He can never fall into the clutches 
of Death. When bullets and missiles are hurled at him, God 
will protect him" (Abg. 1017). "And God will attend upon 
His devotee with all happiness. It is the duty of His devotee 
to remember Him at every step, and then God will follow him 
with all happiness. He will hold His beautiful cloth as a cover 
to protect him from the sun" (Abg. 1048). "God has warded 
off the pecuniary difficulties of His Saints. He has helped 
Kabira and Namadeva and Ekanatha" (Abg. 67). "When 
His devotees have sat in caverns, He has been their attendant. 
He has warded off their hunger and thirst when they have 
become indifferent to their body. Who else can be their friend 
who have no friend except God ? ... .When God sends down 
His grace, even poison may become nectar" (Abg. 209). "All 
the Puranas bear witness as to how God fulfils the desires of 
His Saints. He has Himself become their Guru, has protected 
them before and behind, has held them by the hand and shown 
them the way, and has finally taken them to His heavenly 
home" (Abg. 472). "Their innermost desires have been ful- 
filled by God. For God knows the sincerity and earnestness 
of their desires. Only, the devotees should not be in a hurry, 
for nothing can avail them when time is out of joint" (Abg. 
953). "Those especially who ask nothing of God, and bear 
disinterested love towards Him, God pursues outright in order 
that they may ask something of Him. He waits upon them as 
an attendant, is afraid of sitting down before them, and sacri- 
fices Himself wholly for their sake" (Abg. 1411). " And when 
the Saints have sat down quietly in their places and have 

meditated on Him, God on His part has been kind and 

has fulfilled their desires unasked" (Abg. 672). "He has 
lived with His devotees without minding their caste and 
creed. He has eaten with Vidura, the son of a concubine, 
has dyed skins with Rohidasa, has woven silken clothes with 
Kabira, has sold flesh with Sajana, has tilled the garden with 
Samvata, has carried away dead cattle with Chokha, has 
gathered cow-dung with Janabai, has moved the wall 


of Jnanadeva, has been the charioteer of Arjuna, has 

been the door-keeper of Bali, has warded off the debt of 

Ekanatha, has taken poison for Mirabai, has been a 

Mahara for Damaji, has borne earthen pots with Gora, 

and has been waiting to this (Ky for Piuulalika on a brick 
in Pandharapur" (Abg. 2047). "He has done great miracles 
for His Saints. He has turned the temple at Avandhya, has 

cashed the cheque of Narasi Mehta, has brought to life 

the dead child of the Potter" (Abg. 3250). God's" office for 
the Saints has been truly remarkable. 

XIV. Saints and their Characteristics. 

71. The Saints, however, can. rarely be met with. "We see 
many people calling themselves Saints. 
Real Saints arc But who will believe everybody who 
difficult to find. calls himself a Saint ? Sainthood is dis- 
covered only in times of trial. The 
brooks overflow in times of rain ; but when the rainy season 
has passed, not a drop of water can be found in them. Peb- 
bles look like diamonds only so long as a hammer has not 
tested them" (Abg. 251). "Many people indeed look like 
Saints, but they are not Saints. Saints are not those who can 
compose poetry. Saints are not those who are relatives of 

Saints Saints are not those who hold the sounding 

gourd in their hands, or those who wear 7'ags. Saints are not 
those who engage themselves in a sermon, or those who narrate 
mythological stories. Saints are not those who recite the 
Vedas, or those who perform caste duties. Saints are not 
those who go to a pilgrimage, or to a forest Saints are not 
those who wear garlands and white marks on their body. 
Saints are not those who besmear their body with ashes. 
Until the consideration of the body is at an end. says Tuka, 
nobody can become a Saint by engaging himself in Samsara" 
(Abg. J5S8). u Pseudo-saints are like women, who show 
counterfeit pregnancy by creating a hollow of clothes under 
their wearing garment. They neither have milk in their 
breasts, nor a child in their wombs. IHtimatcly, the world 
finds them to be merely barren women" (Abg. 22-44). Tuka 
indeed is not like the pseudo-saints. tc ile knows no wiles 

by which people may be deceived He can never show 

any miracles. He has no long list of disciples with him. lie 
does not go on instructing people who do not care for his 

advice. He is not the head of a Matha He does not 

make the King of (* hosts work out his bidding He is 

not a philosopher who can argue about trifles. He does not 


whirl round himself a fire-brand in ecstasy. He does not count 
beads and thus try to influence people about him. He is no 
Tantrist who can use the black art for his purposes. Tuka 
indeed is not like these mad people who carve out a 
home for themselves in hell" (Abg. 137). Tukarama tells 
us that the greatness of Saints cannot be estimated unless 
one has become a Saint himself. "Very difficult of under- 
standing is the greatness of a Saint. Wordy knowledge is 
of no use there. Howsoever large the quantity of milk which 
a cow or a she-buffalo might give, can she be compared to the 
Milch-cow of heaven ? We can know the greatness of Saints 
only when we have become like them, says Tuka" (Abg. 676). 
" The Saints incarnate in this world only in order to uplift 
the unholy, and to increase happiness and devotion to God. 
Just as a sandal tree can make other trees fragrant, similarly, 
a Saint makes other people holy in this world" (Abg. 2451). 
72. The first characteristic of a Saint is that he is calm 

and tranquil, and bears like a diamond 

Characteristics of the buffets of misfortune. "That dia- 

Saints. mond alone fetches immense value, which 

remains unbroken under the travail of 
a hammer. That gem is costly, which, when it comes into 
contact with a piece of cloth, does not allow it to be burnt 
by fire. That man alone is a great Saint, says Tuka, who 
bears imperturbably the buffets of the world" (Abg. 25). 
In fact, there is no other external mark of God-realisation 
except that a man be tranquil under God. "Thou tellest 
people that thou art God, and yet hast an inner desire for 
sense. Thou tellest others the sweetness of nectar, while 
thou art thyself being famished to death. That man alone, 
says Tuka, is equal to God, who is absolutely tranquil under 
the power of Self-realisation" (Abg. 1193). In the second 
place, a Saint cares not for the evil talk of the world, when he 
is following the ways of God. "The devotee of God is dear 
to God alone. He cares not for others. He cares for no 
friend or companion. People might call him a mad mail 

He lives in forests, and woods, and'in uninhabited places. 

When he besmears his body with ashes after having taken a 
bath, people look at him and blame him. When he sits alone 
to himself with a rosary of Tulasi beads on his neck, people 
ask Why is it that he has been sitting apart ? He is not 
ashamed of singing, nor of sitting anywhere he pleases, and 
his parents and brothers abuse him for his manners. His 
wife calls him names, and says that it would have been better 
if that impotent fellow had died He alone can achieve 



the end of life, says Tuka, who has turned his back away from 
the world" (Abg. 1185). Thirdly, miracle-mongering, says 
Tuka, is no test of spirituality. "He who can tell what is 
going to happen in future, or can give news of the past and 
the present- I am entirely weary of these fellows! I do not 
like to see them. Those who follow after powers, and try to 
make reality square with their words - these, says Tuka, 
will go to hell after their merit is exhausted" (Abg. 948). It 
is only the unfortunates who care for the knowledge of the 
past, present and future. "We, the servants of the Lord, 
should only meditate upon Him in our mind, and allow for- 
tune to take its own course. When a man keeps a shop of 
miracle-mongering, God keeps away from him. Bad indeed 
is Samsara, but worse is the pursuit of power" (Abg. 638). 
In the fourth place, says Tukarama, a servant of God is 
afraid of none. He entertains no fear of any person or thing. 
"He who has seen God stands as it were on an eminence. 
He who has seen God is afraid of none. He who has seen God 
will ask what he likes of God Himself. He who has seen 
God knows that God will fulfil all his wishes. He who has 
seen God knows that God cuts off his inner desires as with a 
pair of scissors" (Abg. 1287). And thus the Saint is not afraid 
of death at all. "The messengers of Death will run away 
when they see flocks of Saints. When the Saints come, De- 
mons and Death shake with mortal fear. The whole earth 
rejoices by the spiritual ensign of the Saints, and Death takes 
to his heels when he sees that powerful army' 1 (Abg. 1535). 
The fifth characteristic of a Saint is his_absolute equality. 
" A Saint devotes himself entirely to the happiness of others. 
He worships God in helping his fellow-beings. When one 

troubles others, we may say, he hates God This alone 

is Saint-hood, says Tuka ; for, by this, man makes himself 
equal to the Self" (Abg. 2972). For such a Saint, no enemy 
can exist ; because he himself has no feeling of enmity 
towards another. " To us there are neither friends nor foes ; 
for wherever I see, I see the vision of God. Wherever I cast 
my eves, I see God Panduranga, and Kakhmnai, jRarlha, 
and Satyabhama, We have lost all shame and all anxiety, and 
happiness is wallowing at our feet. We^^^hj^^ejbhe sons 
of God, have become the fondlings of Jgeqple in the _ world" 
(AbgriSST): A~Saint~says Tukarama, is known by his com- 
1 passion to humanity. " Those who are unhappy or sorrow- 
stricken, a Saint calls his own, Such a man alone deserves 
to be a Saint. God is present only with him. His mind is as 
soft as butter. The compassion which he feels for his son, 


he also feels for his servants and maids. It is needless to say, 
says Tuka, that such Saints are incarnations of God" (Abg. 
201). Also, in such a Saint, opposite qualities like extreme 
mildness and extreme severity are to be simultaneously found. 
" The servants of God are softer than wax and harder than a 
diamond. They are dead though living, and awake though sleep- 
ing. They will fulfil the desires of all, and give them whatever 

they desire They will be more affectionate than parents, 

and work greater wrong than enemies. Nectar cannot 
be sweeter, and poison more bitter than these Saints," says 
Tuka (Abg. 586). Sixthly, a Saint never leaves his spiritual 
practice in spite of calamities. "He alone is a servant of God, 
who loves God wholly. He cares for nothing else except 
God. When calamities befall him, he sticks to his spiritual 
practice" (Abg. 214). He is prepared even to sacrifice his 
life for spirituality. " Sainthood cannot be purchased in a 
market-place,, nor can it be acquired b}T~wamlefing in woods 
anSTforests. Sainthood cannot be bought by large quanti- 
tiesT of wealth, nor can it be found in the upper and the nether 
worlds. Sainthood can be acquired, says Tuka, only at the 
cost of life. He, who is not prepared to sacrifice his life, should 
not brag of spirituality" (Abg. (577). Finally, the Saint goes 
beyond all dualities like sin and merit, death and life, and so 
on. "No room has now been left for sin and merit, or for 

happiness and misery Death has occurred during life 

and the distinction between Self and not-Self has disappeared 

There is now no room for caste or colour or creed, 

or for truth^anJlTriEruth W^ cn the body has been sacri- 
ficed to God, says Tuka, all worship has been accomplished" 
(Abg. 3171). "The Saint has also gone beyond the influence 
of all sorts of actions : he cannot do any actions which can 
bear any fruit. God has taken the place of action, and has 

filled the inside and the outside of the Saint Indeed, 

there has now remained no distinction, says Tuka, between 
God and the Devotee" (Abg. 155). And, "if God is now to 
be found anywhere, He is to be found in such Saints and not 
in the images. Tf one goes to a place of pilgrimage, one can 
find only stones arid water. But in the Saints, one finds God 
~ ..... Places of pilgrimage a,re useful to those who have 
devotion^ In the company of the Saints, on the other hand t 
even rustics become good, says Tuka" (Abg. 89). 

73. The spiritual power of Saints is indeed very great. 
"The sun and the lamp and the diamond show things 
which are visible. But the Saints show things which are 
invisible Parents are the cause of birth. But 


Saints are the cause of the cessation of birth It is for 

these reasons, says Tuka, that we should 
The Spiritual Power of g to the Saints unasked, and cling to their 
the Saints. feet" (Abg. 722). The Saints have indeed 

kept their shops open, and give to whom- 
soever goes to them with any desire. The Saints indeed are 
generous, and their treasure cannot be emptied. Those who 
beg will have their heart's content, and yet a large remainder 
will be left for others. When a bag is filled with God, says 
Tuka, it can never be emptied" (Abg. 1866). "Various 
people have taken away the contents of this mine, and yet it 
has never been emptied. The Saints of bygone ages have 
left this treasure for us. By the power of his devotion, 
Pundalika brought it to the notice of the world. Tukarama 
was a poor beggar there, and received only a small quantity 
of it" (Abg. 2981). 

74. So far as their influence upon others is concerned, we 
may say that the Saints spread happiness 
The Saints' influence a ^ round. The very dust of their feet, 
upon others. sa y s Tukarama, brings happiness to peo- 

ple. "Immense pleasure is derived from 
the feet of the Saints. It is for this reason that people live 
at their feet. One cannot even so much as stir from that 
place, as all of one's anxieties come to an end. The whole body 
becomes cool, says Tuka, when the dust of the Saints' feet 
touches one's body" (Abg. 2528). "All sin and sorrow de- 
part at the sight of a holy man. No holy place has the power 
-of taking away sin and sorrow. God Himself bows to the 
pollen of the Saint's feet, and dances when he performs a 
Kirtana. The Saint is indeed a boat by which one can cross 
the ocean of life uncontaminated by the stream of existence" 
(Abg. 990). " Sinful men must needs take care not to give 
trouble to the Saints. For thereby they only give invitation 
to death. The dog barks at the heel of the elephant, but is 
obliged to turn back in shame. When a monkey teases a 
lion, it is surely giving invitation to death. Sinful men who 
tease the Saints will have only their faces blackened," says 
Tuka (Abg. 2426). Finally, the Saints deprive everybody 
who comes into contact with them of all his possessions. 
"They are verily robbers, who on coming to the house, de- 
prive the owner of his clothes and earthen pots. They rob 
him of everything in his possession, and take it away to a 
place from which there is no return" (Abg. 1904). 


XV. The Identity of Saints with God. 

75. The Saints by their perfect morality and devotion 
raise themselves to the position of the 
Establishment of Godhead. Tukarama tells us that " Gods 
Identity between God are Saints, and Saints Gods. Images 
and the Saints. are merely the occasional cause of wor- 
ship The impersonal God cannot 

satisfy our wants. But the Devotee satisfies all (Abg. 
3993). God and Saint are merely the obverse and the 
reverse sides of the same spiritual coin. "God has to take on 
incarnation, and the Devotee engages himself in worldly life 

The Devotee derives happiness by God; and God 

derives happiness in the company of the Devotee. God 
gives the Saint a form and a name, and the Saint increases 

His glory One should surely rest in the belief that the 

Saint is God, and God the Saint" (Abg. 3324). It is this 
identity which makes a Saint even enter into a quarrel with 
God. " Art Thou alone immortal, and am I not immortal ? Let 
us go to the Saints, God, and have their judgment on this 
point. Thou hast no name no doubt, but equally have I no 
name. Thou hast no form no doubt, but equally have I no 
form. Thou playest as in sport, equally do I play in sport. 
As Thou art true and false, equally am I true and false, says 
Tuka" (Abg. 158G). Thus it comes about that the distinction 
between God and the Devotee is an illusion. "We have now 
come to know Thy real nature. There is neither Saint nor God. 
There is no seed, how can there be a fruit ? Everything is 
an illusion. Where is merit, and where is sin ? I have now 

seen my own Self I am celebrating the name of God 

only for the sake of others, says Tuka" (Abg. 1300). And yet, 
in a way, God and Saint are like seed and tree. "From the 
seed grows the tree, and from the tree comes the fruit. Thus 
art Thou and I like seed and tree. The waves are the ocean, 
and the ocean the waves. Image and reflection have now 
merged into each other, says Tuka" (Abg. 2242). And yet, 
even though the Saint has attained to identity with God, 
he manifests a difference for the sake of others. "The de- 
votee alone can know the greatness of a devotee. It is im- 
possible for others to know that greatness. By the power 
of the great happiness, the Saint knows and yet does not 
know ; he speaks, and yet does not speak. He has become 
one with God, and yet shows a difference in order that the 

cause of devotion may prosper It is only those who have 

realised God that can understand the meaning of what I say/' 


says Tuka (Abg. 893). Indeed, in order to know God, one has 
to become God. " It is only he who has become God, that can 
understand that others are gods. Those who have not known 
this are only tale-tellers. He who has satisfied his hunger 
cannot know that others are hungry : he looks upon other 
people's happiness in the light of his own. What is wanted 
here, says Tuka, is experience, and not words" (Abg. 2065). 

76. And yet in a way the Devotee is even superior to God. 

"God is required to provide for His 
The Saint is even creation, the Devotee has no anxiety 
superior to God. even to provide for himself. God has 
to take into account the merits and sins 
of people : to the Devotee all are equally good. God has to 
create and to destroy the world ; the Devotee is not called 
upon to undertake that onerous duty. God is always engaged 
in His work ; the Devotee enjoys the satisfaction of not doing 
anything at all. Does not all this prove that the Devotee 
is superior to God?" (Abg. 1189). And the Devotee by his 
power can even rule over God. "Before the power of his devo- 
tion, no other power avails. Who can rule God except His 
devotee ? Wherever the Devotee sits, all things come of their 
own accord, and nobody ever dares to do him wrong" (Abg. 
}283). The Saint can even exercise authority over God, as 
Tukarama did. "Go to my house with me, O God, and stand 
still until 1 place my head on Thy feet. Allow me to em- 
brace Thee, and look at me with compassion. 1 shall wash 

Thy feet, and make Thee sit in my mid-house I shall 

make Thee eat with me, and Thou darest not refuse. Thou 
hast hitherto prevented me from knowing the secret. Why 
may one now be afraid of Thee when one has come to know the 
truth? By the power of my devotion, 1 shall now make 
Thee do whatever 1 please, says Tuka" (Abg. 2582). And 
God in return will fold His hands before His devotee as He 
did before Tuka. ""What can be lacking to us," asks Tuka. 
"All powers have now come to our door. He, who has impri- 
soned the demons of the world, now folds His hands before us. 
Him, who has neither name nor form, we have endowed with 
a name and a form. He, in whom the whole universe is en- 
closed, is to us now as good as an ant. We have really 
become more powerful than God, says Tuka, when we have 
once set aside all our desires" (Abg. 126). 

XVI. Tukarama's Pantheistic Teaching. 

77. The trend of all this teaching is a final pantheistic 
unification of the Personal and the Impersonal. The form 


which is worshipped by outward means, and the form which 

is experienced by an inner vision, are, 

A Pantheistic uni- according to this teaching, ultimately 

fication of the Personal one. "What the Yogins visualise in their 

and the Impersonal. ecstasy is the same as what appears to 

our physical vision. The form of God, 

which stands before us with His hands on His waist, is the 

same as that Impersonal Existence which envelops all, which 

has neither form nor name, which has neither end, 

nor colour, nor standing-place ; which is familyless, casteless, 
handless, and footless. The Impersonal shines forth as the 
Person by the power of devotion, says Tuka" (Abg. 320). And 
all sciences proclaim the universal immanence of God. " The 
Vedanta has said that the whole universe is filled by God. 
All sciences have proclaimed that God has filled the whole 
world. The Puranas have unmistakably taught the universal 
immanence of God. The Saints have told us that the world 
is filled by God. Tuka indeed is playing in the world uncon- 
t animated by it like the Sun which stands absolutely trans^ 
cendent" (Abg. 2877). When such universal presence of God 
is realised, "who will care for all those paltry stone-deities 

which, when they are hungry, beg alms for themselves 

Why should one care for hospitality from the Maid-servants 
in the house ? The Maid is powerless, and must go to her 
Mistress to dole out rations of food. The water in a pond 

can never give satisfaction to a thirsty man These little 

deities hide their faces under the red ointment which 

besmears their bodies He is a fool who calls them gods. 

The real God is the universal immanent God. Meditate on 
Him, says Tuka" (Abg. 4(74). And it is due to the universal 
immanence of God that Hie acts as a thread through all the 
pearls of existence. He is verily the vinculum substantiate 
of all, and holds all things together. " By our relation to God, 
the whole world has become ours, as all pearls are threaded 

on the same string The happiness and misery of others 

is reflected in us as the happiness and misery of ourselves 
is reflected 'in them" (Abg. 420). It is this experience which 
makes all people gods. It is this experience which makes a 
Saint look upon all beings as the incarnations of the immortal 

Godhead. "Immortal are ye all verily Think not of 

your body as your own, and then you will realise the truth 
of my assertion. Why need fear anything at all, when all 
things are ours ? Believe me, says Tuka, that all of ye are 
verily gods" (Abg. 849). And the true Saint is he who having 
realised the oneness of God, His immanence everywhere, and 


His ultimate identity with his own self, is enabled to say 
that there is no God beyond himself. "We should only say, 
says Tuka, that there is a Cod ; but should realise in our 
minds that there is none. Love now meets love, body body. 

The internal becomes one with the external The son 

has now met his parent. An inexpressible vision has been 
seen, and one now rejoices and is moved to tears" (Abg. 
3208). And it is wonderful, says Tuka, that when such a 
real spiritual experience is within the reach of all, they should 
carry on their physical life as alone real. "They forget the 

memory of death They forget that the body is merely 

a prey to death. They shut their eyes and grow deliber- 
ately blind" (Abg. 2625). "They do not know how the Self 
is playing with the Self ; how the ocean has mingled with the 
rivers ; how space is merged in space. The seed now points 
to the seed : the leaf and the flower are only an illusion" 
(Abg. 2692). "God indeed is an illusion. The Devotee is an 
illusion. K verything is an illusion. Only those who have got this 
experience, says Tuka, will come to know the truth of my re- 
mark" (Abg. 2524). The unreal Tuka is speaking unreal things 
with unreal men. Everywhere there is a reign of unreality. 

"One laughs vainly, and one weeps vainly Vainly do 

people say that this is mine, and this is thine Vainly 

does a man sing, and vainly does he meditate. Unreality 
meets unreality. The unreal man enjoys, the unreal man 
abandons. Unreal is the saint ; Unreal is Maya. The un- 
real Tuka, with an unreal devotion, speaks unreal things with 
unreal men" (Abg. 2096). To such heights are we carried 
by the force of Tukarama's pantheistic teaching. 

XVII. The Doctrine of Mystical Experience. 

78. Tukarama's mystical experience is absolutely on a par 
with the experience of those who have 

Knowledge as an preceded him, or those who have followed 
obstacle in the way of him. All mystics, it has been said, speak 
reaching God. the same language, to whatever country 

they may belong ; and if we collect to- 
gether the various utterances of Tukarama on the head of 
mystical experience, we will find that he is giving vent to the 
same feelings which have inspired other mystics. "Let us 
go," he says, "in the wake of those who have gone ahead 

of us ; for they have been wiser than us Let us gather 

together this great spiritual wealth Meditation on the 

Name of God is alone sufficient to bring to us untold benefits. 
Life and birth would thus come to an end. Let us kill our 


individual self, says Tuka, and go to our original home" 
(Abg. 13). "In this path, consciousness of knowledge is a 
great obstacle. A mother indeed ceases to take care of the 
self-conscious child. When once the pearls are taken out of 
water, they can never again be resolved into water. When 
butter has been prepared, it is for all times severed from butter- 
milk" (Abg. 1705). "Of two children, the mother takes 
care of the younger one, and admonishes the other. It is 
consciousness which brings greater responsibility. Both the 
children are hers, and yet she behaves differently with either. 
She throws off her elder child, and puts to her breast the 
younger one when it begins to cry" (Abg. 111). "The 
cow-herd friends of Krishna were never conscious of their 
possession of God, and hence God liked them more than those 
who boasted of their learning. God turns away from boast- 
ful men, by creating in them egoism, difference, and censure" 
(Abg. 3865). In great humility, therefore, Tuka says merely 
* Vitthala ', 'Vitthala', and invites the learned to spit on him. 
" Tuka indeed is a thoughtless madman, and is given to brag- 
ging. He is given to the uttering of the Name of God, Rama, 
Krishna, Hari forever He finds that the Teacher's know- 
ledge is all-pervading. He listens to nobody, and dances 
naked in a Kirtana. He is weary of enjoyments, and wallows 
in uninhabited places. He cares not for advice, and says Vit- 
thala, Vitthala. People criticise him variously, but he carries 
on his vocation. Spit on me, learned men, says Tuka, for 
I am without learning" (Abg. 2090). 

79. There is a great deal of difference between an intellectual 

conviction of God's omnipresence, and a 

The importance of mystical vision of Him. " The Anahata 

Realisation. sound is present in all. But, how can a man 

get liberation unless he utters the Name 
of God ? God is indeed present in all beings. But nobody has 
yet been liberated without having seen Him. Knowledge is 
present in all. But without devotion it is incompetent to 
take one to Brahman. What is the use of all the different 
postures in Yoga, unless the ecstatic light shines ? Peed not 
the body, says Tuka, for by that God could never be found" 
(Abg. 1187). Tukarama hates all mythologies. What he 
wants is spiritual realisation. " 1 do not want the stories 
of old", he says. "What is the use of those dry words ? I 
want experience, and nothing else. You talk of knowledge, 
but I know that you have had no mystical experience. The 
royal swan can distinguish between water and milk. What 
is wanted is a true coin, and not a counterfeit one" (Abg. 


2277). It is this consideration of the inferiority of all merely 
intellectual knowledge to mystical realisation that makes the 
attainment of the end a very difficult task. "The blossom 
may be infinite, but the fruits are few. Fewer still are the 
fruits that ripen, and fewest come unspoilt from the fruit- 
store. Rare indeed is the man who has the satisfaction of 

having reached the end Rare is the man who attains 

to victory in the midst of blazing swords. I shall call him 
my companion, says Tuka, who has been able to reach the 
end" (Abg. 752). 

80. The greatest help, however, to realisation comes from 

the grace of God. Without the grace of 
The Grace of God. God, says Tukarama, no Sadhana is of 

any avail. "What is the use of all Sa- 
dhanas?" asks Tuka. "God's form will appear before us only 
if He takes compassion upon us. All our efforts would be 
of no use, unless they reach the final tranquillity" (Abg. 3165). 
"If only God wills, then alone can He endow us with spiri- 
tual vision. We need not go anywhere, nor bring anything 
from anywhere. If only God wills, these eyes shall have a 
spiritual vision, and our egoism shall disappear" (Abg. 3139). 
It was thus that God was attained by the Sages of old. " Suka 
and Sanaka have borne witness that Parikshit was able to 
attain to God in a week. Remember God's Name with all 
speed, and then God cannot hold Himself back. He will 
hasten as He did for the sake of Draupadi, and come ahead 
of His swift-winged Eagle. He cannot contain His love, and 
will run to the devotee's help" (Abg. 102). 

81. Tukarama's contribution to the Psychology of Mysti- 

cism is very clever and profound. He 
Psychology of * e U s u , in the first place, that while we 

Mysticism. ar e contemplating God, both body and 

mind are entirely transformed. "When 
the Self has been transformed in God, and when the mind 
has been suffused in illumination, the whole of creation looks 
divine, and all of a sudden the influx of God fills the whole 
world" (Abg. 3133). Thus Tukarama directs all Saints to 
sing the praises of God alone. " If I were to utter the praises 
of anybody except Thyself, let my tongue fall down. If my 
mind longs to think of anybody except Thyself, let my head 
break in twain. If my eyes have a passion for seeing anything 
except Thee, let them become blind at that very moment. 
If my ears refuse to hear Thy praise, they would be as good as 
useless. My very life would have no raison d'etre, says Tuka, 
if I were to be oblivious of Thy presence even for a moment' ' 


(Abg. 260). All the senses therefore, Tukarama advises us, 
should be directed to the contemplation of God. "Your 
hands and feet must work for the sake of God. You have 
speech to utter His praise, and ears to hear His greatness. 
You have eyes to see His form. Blind men, and deaf men, 
and dumb men, and lame men, have hitherto gone without 
having an opportunity of serving God. He, who keeps 
himself in his house by setting it on fire, will soon cease to 
exist. Now at least, says Tuka, be awake, and do what is 
conducive to the highest happiness" (Abg. 511). "Let all 
the senses quarrel with one another," says Tuka, "for the en- 
joyment of God. My various organs are now at war with one 
another. My ears say that my tongue has been pleased. 
My hands and feet are pining for the service of God. My eyes 
are experiencing the dearth of His vision. Other senses are 
quarrelling with my ears, because they hear the praises of God, 

and with my speech, because it utters His greatness 

If Thou art kind, O God, create such a confusion among my 
senses" (Abg. 2593). "Let all the emotions be now trans- 
formed for the sake of God. Thou followest evanescent 
things. Why dost thou net follow God ? As thou lovest 
another person, why dost thou not love God ? Thou hast 
affection for thy son. Why dost thou not have that same 
affection towards God ? Thou lovest thy wife, who ulti- 
mately robs thee of everything that thou hast got. Why 
dost thou not have that same tender affection for God ? 
Thou worshippest thy parents in the consciousness of their 
obligation. Why dost thou not regard the obligation of 
God ? Thou art afraid of other men. Why art thou not 
afraid of God ? Dost thou suppose that thou hast come to life 
in vain?" (Abg. 2511). People, says Tuka, are ashamed of 
uttering the Name of God. " Bring Shame to the temple," he 
says. "We shall put herself to shame. I ring this cymbal 
in the Name of God. Give no shelter to Shame. This witch 
has spoilt good ways, and has taken people by the path of 
destruction. She shows herself off among men, and is crafty 
and mean. Bring her to the temple ; we shall make her 
ashamed" (Abg. 2604). People do not experience tears 
in the contemplation of God, says Tuka. "Unless tears 
come out of our eyes in the contemplation of God, we cannot 
be said to have true devotion. Tears indeed are an index 
of love towards God" (Abg. 57). Also, spiritual contemplation 
has the value of stilling the mind. "Experience leads to 
experience. The mind gets stilled on the feet of God. The 
dross is burnt in the fire of God, and from the gold comes out a 


new ornament. Blissfulness alone remains. We conquer 
the worlds, says Tuka, by being the servants of God" (Abg. 
783). And this beatification leads on to final spiritual silence. 
" Why now waste words ? Whatever had been desired has 
been obtained. A union has been effected between Name 
and Form. Vain words have come to an end. As a dumb 
man eats sugar, so the mystic enjoys beatification. 
What now follows, says Tuka, is utter spiritual silence" 
(Abg. 262). 

82. The immediate effect of carrying on a spiritual life 

is that the devotee is endowed with 

The manifold vision a new vision. " Red, and white, and 

of God. black, and yellow, and other variegated 

colours fill the new spiritual vision. The 
spiritual collyrium opens out a divine eye. The vagaries 
of the mind stop automatically. Space and time cease to 
have any existence. The Self illumines the whole Universe. 
Physical existence comes to an end. The identity of God 
and Self takes place. 'I am Thou 5 is the spiritual experience 
which emerges in a state of beatification" (Abg. 3248). "When 
God shows Himself to the sainta, the very monads are filled 
with light. Only those who have control over their senses, 
says Tuka, can understand this. This is what is called spiri- 
tual collyrium" (Abg. 495). "The mind should be placed on 
the feet of God. When it has been so placed, we should not 
lift it up again ; for, God's form will melt away if it be moved 
but a little. God will now embrace the Saint, and will keep 
him beside Himself" (Abg. 1805). "And the form of God 
will be seen as pervading the whole universe. Society and 
solitude will cease to have any difference. Wherever a 
devotee looks, he will see God and His spouse. Tn the woods 
as in the city, all space will be pervaded by God. Happiness 
and sorrow will be at an end, and the Saint will dance in joy" 
(Abg. 24). "He will dance along with his spiritual com- 
panions All peace, forbearance, and compassion, he 

will find in the Name of God. Why should he now grow 
indifferent to his body, when he has once found by it the 
stream of nectar ? Why should he long for solitude ? He would 
find that great bliss now in society. In fact, he would exper- 
ience that God is constantly moving with him "^ (Abg. 470). And 
God indeed moves after the holy man. "His body is holy, 
and his speech holy. He utters constantly the Name of God. 
By meditating on the Saint, even sinful men will be relieved of 
their sin. God follows him, desiring to purify himself by 
the pollen of his feet. What can now be lacking to a Saint 


with whom God is ever present ? We can now see the triple 
spiritual confluence of the Saint, God, and the Name" (Abg. 
989). And if the Saint travels, God also travels with him. 
" Blissful in listening to the divine Kirtana, God lives in the 
company of the Saint. A Saint like Narada moves travelling 
and singing the Name of God, and God moves along with him. 
Narada sings devotional music and God listens to it. God 
indeed loves no other thing so much as His own Kirtana" 
(Abg. 3026). "God even dances before the singing Saint. 
That incarnate bliss, the form of God, stands in the court- 
yard of the devotee. The Saint does not care for liberation. 
Liberation cares for the Saint" (Abg. 301). "As the Saint 
sleeps and sings, God stands up to hear the song ; as the 
Saint sits down to sing God's Name, God nods with pleasure ; 
as the Saint stands up and utters the Name of God, God dances 
before him ; as the Saint moves on his way singing the name 
of the Lord, God stands before him, and behind him. God 
indeed loves His Kirtana as nothing else, and, for the sake of 
His Name, comes to the Saint's rescue at all times" (Abg. 
1032). "God raises His hand and asks the Saint to choose 
whatever he likes. God is omniscient, God is generous, God 
is verily the father, and He supplies whatever the Saint wants" 
(Abg. 1403). "He does all the Saint's work unasked. He 
stands pent up inside his heart, and He stands outside with a 
beautiful form. He looks at His devotee's face in order that 
he may ask something of Him. Whenever the Saint de- 
sires anything, He fulfils it at once. But the Saint rests his 
mind on the feet of God, and asks for nothing" (Abg. 1343). 
Finally, the Saint becomes so unified with God, that it is 
impossible to distinguish between God and Saint. "Embrace 
meets embrace. Body is unified with body. The mind 
refuses to turn back in its enjoyment of God. Words mix 
with words. Eyes meet eyes. And as the Gopis of old be- 
came merged in God, so does the Saint become one with Him 
in his inner contemplation" (Abg. 1614). 

83. The Saint now goes about telling people that God has 

risen. He asks them to keep awake and 

The life after God- arise from their sensual sleep. "Awake 

attainment. and arise", he says to the people, "God 

has arisen. All the Saints have been 
merged in happiness. The universe is full of spiritual joy. 
Now beat the cymbals, and blow the trumpets. Let all musi- 
cal instruments make a chorus of God. Fold up your hands 
before God ; look at God's face ; and rest your head on God's 
feet. Tell God your sorrow, says Tuka, and ask of Him 


whatever you want" (Abg. 4044). " To a man who has become 
such a friend of God, the very creepers in the court-yard are 
as wish-trees. As he moves on his way, the very stones be- 
come wish-jewels. His very babbling is more significant, 
says Tuka, than the teaching of the Vedanta" (Abg. 2157). 
"And the Saint has undergone all this trouble in order that 
the final day might bring him the spiritual crown. His mind 
now rests in peace, and his desires are at an end. He wonders 
how he has had to wade through such a laborious process. 
But he is satisfied that it has at last landed him in the sure 
possession of God. He has now married Liberation, and will 
live with her a few happy days" (Abg. 787). 

XVIII. Spiritual Allegories, 

84. Following the example of spiritual teachers like Eka- 

natha who had gone before him, Tuka- 

Thc allegory of the rama makes free use of allegories for the 

Crop. expression of his spiritual ideas. In 

order to explain what we mean, we shall 
select three or four out of a number of allegories employed 
by Tukarama. We shall first take the allegory of the Crop. 
We are asked by Tukarama "to rear the crop of God's name 
on the land which has come in our possession. There is neither 
any Government assessment here, nor any external oppres- 
sion No thieves can come and attack this crop, and yet 

he who is anxious as to how this crop will grow is a fool 

The crop of God's love is vast and wide, and nobody has 
space enough to garner it" (Abg. 3327). "The keeper of the 
crop who does not guard it will ultimately lose all his grain, 

because the birds will come and feed upon it Those who 

deliberately shut their eyes in broad day-light will fall into a 
ditch. How can a man who keeps a barren cow be able to 
get milk and ghee from her ?" (Abg. 3328). "Guard the four 
corners of the crop, and rest not until the crop is reaped from 
the fields. Let the Name of God serve as a stone in the sling of 
thy breath, so that the birds in the form of desires will fly 

away. Blow the fire of Self-realisation, and keep awake 

When you have gathered the corn, hand over to the elements 
their portions from the stock, and enjoy the rest" (Abg. 3329). 

85. Another allegory which Tukarama employs is the 

allegory of the Dish. We are told to 
The allegory of the blow the chaff from the wheat, the Body 
Dish. from the Soul. Let the pestle of dis- 

crimination stop working when the wheat 
is separated from the chaff. The bangles in the form of the 


mystic sounds will now make a noise, and let the Name of 

God be sung in tune with the sounds And when the Self 

will appear to us as in a mirror, at that moment the spiritual 
dish may be considered to be ready" (Abg. 3712). 

86. Thirdly, we have barely to mention the allegory of the 

Fortune-teller, who comes and says that 
The Fortune-teller. " he who says that all this is truth will 

go to hell. He who says that all this is 
a lie will enjoy happiness. Sleep therefore in your own places 
and believe in the thief who robs peoples' hearts. A chaste 
woman is handed over to the possession of five, and when 
she engages herself with the Supreme Person, she will enjoy 
happiness" (Abg. 3981). 

87. Finally, we note Tukarama's allegorical representa- 

tion of the Supreme Power as Goddess. 

The Supreme "Rajas and Tamas are burnt as incense 

Power as Goddess. before that Goddess. The ram of mind 

is killed with a fist, and in the rumbling 
of the Anahata sound, the deity takes possession of the body 
and frees Tuka from disease" (Abg. 3958). "This deity," 
says Tuka, "dances along with the Saints. She is with you 
already ; but you have mistaken her place. She gives eyes to 
the blind, and feet to the lame, and she makes the barren woman 
give birth to a child. Thus does that deity fulfil all desires" 
(Abg. 3959). "That deity lives on the banks of the Bhima 

at Pandharapur. Call for her by a thousand names 

When the demon teased Prahlada, she came out at once in all 
her fierceness. She helped Vasudeva, when his seven child- 
ren were killed by the demon. She helped the Pandavas 
when they were wandering like madmen. She runs to the 
succour whenever her name is sung. She is verily our mother, 
says Tuka. Why need we any longer fear the messengers of 
Death?" (Abg. 3964). "This deity has now taken possession 
of me, and refuses to leave me. Tf you want to dispossess 
me of her, take me to the banks of the Chandrabhaga, and 
place me at the feet of Vitthala ; otherwise, there is no hope 
of life for me" (Abg. 3966)'. 

XIX. The Worldly Wisdom of Tukarama. 

88. The piercing insight which Tukarama shows in the 

affairs of the world is extremely remark- 
Tukarama's worldly able. Having penetrated the heart of 
wisdom. reality, it was not difficult for him to 

understand the affairs of the world. We 
cite here a few illustrations to show what extraordinary 


insight he had in the affairs of the world. He tells us, in 
the first place, how a woman's beauty is the cause of 
sorrow. "Give me not the company of women," he says, 

"for by them I forget God's worship, and my 

mind goes beyond my control A sight of them is spiritual 
death, and their beauty is the cause of hardship. Even if 
Fire were to become a Saint, says Tuka, he would be conta- 
minated by their influence" (Abg. 3347). He tells us how 
"people avoid the sight of Saints, and look upon another 
man's wife with great regard. They become weary of the 
words of Saints ; but their ears are satisfied when they hear 
the words of women. They sleep while the Kirtana is being 
performed ; while they are fully awake when women are being 
described. Be not angry with me, says Tuka, for I am only 
describing human nature" (Abg. 3237). Then, Tukarama 
goes on to tell us that "real worth can never be hidden. One 
need not call together the different trees in a forest, and ask 
them whether the sandal tree has sweet scent. Real worth, 
though latent, cannot remain hidden. The Sun never orders 
his rays that they should awake people. The cloud of itself 
makes the peacocks dance with joy. It is impossible, says 
Tuka, to hide real worth" (Abg. 150). On the other hand, 
Tukarama tells us that a counterfeit coin can never fetch any 
price. "A coin of copper can never fetch any price even if 
it is taken from place to place. The Good and the Old have 
no respect for the counterfeit. Pebbles shine like diamonds, 
but the connoisseur knows how to distinguish the one from the 
other. A painted pearl is never so valuable as a real pearl. 
Our mind tells us the real worth of things. There is no use 
mincing matters," says Tuka (Abg. 3146). Then, Tuka- 
jama tells us that in this world smallness is preferable to great- 
ness. "Make me small, God, like an ant ; for the latter gets 
sugar to eat. A great elephant is subjected to a goad. Those 
that stand high have many blasts to shake them ; and if they 
fall, they shatter themselves to pieces" (Abg. 744). Smallness 
offers no occasion for rivalry to anything. "When the great 
flood sweeps away forests, the small grass subsists. The 
waves of an ocean cross past us if we humble ourselves down. 
If we hold a man by his legs, says Tuka, he will have no power 
over us" (Abg. 745). Then, Tukarama tells us, that, under 
God, as under a Wish- tree, we should ask only for good things. 
" For the Wish- tree will yield anything that may be desired ; 
and if we entertain good desires, good things will accrue ; 
while if we entertain evil desires, ruin will be our lot" (Abg. 
1381). Then, Tukarama tells us how an ignorant man engages 


himself in devotion. " An ignorant man desires wealth and not 
knowledge. An ignorant man has no desire to see God. An 
ignorant man looks for the fruits of action. An ignorant 
man is prevailed upon by his senses. Burn the face of such 
ignorant people by a fire-brand, says Tuka ; for they only 
increase the ignorance in the world" (Abg. 3150). "There 
is a very great difference," says Tuka, "between seeming and 
real affection. What seems is not reality. A shepherd 
used to attend the sermon of a priest, and he was so much 
moved by hearing the sermon, that he shed tears in seeming 
sorrow. People supposed that he was weeping for demotion. 
But what moved him to tears was really a different Jiilng al- 
together. The priest once asked the shepherd wh/ he was 
weeping, and the shepherd pointed to the two horns and 
feet, saying 'I am put in mind of my dead ram when 1 
hear your voice. Thus it is that your sermon moves me to 
tears'. Seeming affection, says Tuka, is not real aflection" 
(Abg. 91). Tukarama then descants upon the usolessness 
of desire. "Man need only care for a seer of rice. Why 

need he waste words for other things ? His space is 

measured, which is just three and a half cubits. Why 
should he aspire after more land ? To forget God, he says, 
is to put ourselves into all sorbs of trouble" (Abg. 132(3). 
Those who live in glass-houses, says Tuka, should not throw 
stones. "What is the use of the man who scratches the breasts 
of his own mother ? A man who blames the Vedas is merely 
a Chandala. Where can we live if we set our house on tire ? 
People are sunk in illusion, and nobody knows the truth, 
says Tuka" (Abg. 793). Tukarama next tells us that we 
must succumb to the power of Fate. "By fate, we obtain 
wealth. By fete, we obtain honour. Why dost thou waste 
thyself in vain ? By fate, a man gets misery. By fate, a man 
is able to satisfy his hunger. Knowing this, Tukarama does 
not complain of anything" (Abg. 2071). "An evil man," 
says Tuka, "is like a washerman. We are obliged to these 
washermen for washing away our faults. By the soap of their 
words, they take away our dirt, without charging us anything 
for it. They are coolies who work for nothing, and take our 
burden in vain. They carry us to the other side of the ocean 
of life, says Tuka, while they themselves go to hell" (Abg. 
1122). Tukarama supposes that "an evil-talker must have 
been either a washerman or a barber in his former birth. 
His words scratch like a razor. His mouth is like a cleansing 

vessel He voluntarily takes on himself the business of 

washing the faults of others, says Tuka" (Abg. 1C21). As 

23 P 


regards initiation of disciples by a Teacher, Tukarama tells 
us that a man should distribute his words in a general way 
like rain. For if he were to make a disciple, half the sins 

of his disciple would accrue to him "We should never 

adopt a son, says Tuka. We should not sow on a rock 

We should talk about private things with the Saints. We 

should behave with our wife as with a maid-servant 

We should see what is pure and what is impure, and never 
accept anything that would involve us in a loss" (Abg. 
1573). "We should instruct others," says Tuka, "only as 
they Reserve. We should place only as much burden upon 
othei 'j3? * they could bear. What wisdom is there in covering 
an ant? Path an elephant's cloth? A clever huntsman is he, 
says Tuka, who employs nooses, and nets, and axes, as occasion 
requires" (Abg. 2460). Tukarama next warns us not to live 
continually in the company of the Saints. "By living always 
in their company, we shall remember their faults ; and when 
we remember their faults, our merit would come to an end. 
We should bow to the Saints from a distance, says Tuka, 
and should think of them respectfully" (Abg. 2587). At 
the fair of life, says Tuka, we should purchase only those 
things which would bring no loss. "Purchase not goods 
which would involve you in a loss. Call to your help the 
spiritual connoisseur, and think of the ultimate benefit. What- 
ever glitters, says Tuka, is not gold" (Abg. 1398). "We 
should never reveal the secret, " says Tuka, "to anybody. For 
if we were to reveal the secret, people will run after us for 
nothing. They would never take to heart anything which 
we might teach them. Hence, unless they have Expe- 
rience of their own, no words of ours would be of any avail" 
(Abg. 818). Finally, Tukarama has no belief in omens, as the 
generality of mankind would have. "A true omen," says 
Tuka, "is the vision of God. When one remembers God, all 
benefits will necessarily accrue. By meditating on the Name 
of God, all speech will become holy, and the quarters full of 
auspiciousness" (Abg. 961). 


General Review. 

If we now review Tukarama's Mystical Career and Teaching 
as a whole, we shall find that he supplies 
Three points about us with a typical illustration of what we 
Tukarama's Mysticism, have called Personalistic Mysticism. 
Tukarama exhibits all the doubts and the 
disbeliefs, the weaknesses and the sufferings, the anxieties and 
the uncertainties, through which every aspiring soul must 
pass before he can come into the life of light, spirit and har- 
mony. There is no other instance in the whole galaxy of the 
Maratha Saints, barring perhaps Namadeva, which can be 
regarded as illustrative of this human element which we find 
in Tukarama. Jnanadeva is a Saint who appears to us from 
the beginning to the end of his spiritual career as a full-fledged 
Saint, a Saint not in the making but one already made. 
Ii is only rarely that we find in Jnanadeva and Ramadasa and 
other Saints the traces of a hazard towards the infinite life, 
which they must realize as the goal of their spiritual career. 
In Tukarama, on the other hand, we find these traces from the 
beginning to the end of his spiritual career. Jnanadeva is a 
light that dazzles too much by its brilliance. Tukarama's 
light is an accommodative, steady, incremental light which 
does not glitter too much, but which soothes our vision by 
giving it what it needs. It is for this reason that we say 
that the humanistic and personalistic element in Tukarama 
is more predominant than in any other Saint. (2) A second 
question that arises about Tukarama is whether we may re- 
gard him as having been influenced by Christianity. Mr. 
Murray Mitchell has no hesitation in saying that Tukarama 
must be regarded as having been definitely influenced by Christ- 
ian doctrine, inasmuch as the violence of the Portuguese in 
India in propagating their religious views must have attracted 
the attention of the Marathas to the Christian religion, as well 
as because we find in Tukarama's life and teaching too much 
of a similarity to Christ's life and teaching. Dr. Macnicol gives 
an alternative, telling us that if Tukarama could not be sup- 
posed as having been influenced by Christianity, he must at 
least be supposed as a remarkable instance of a mens naturalter 
Christiana. Mr. Edwards is more humble and says that his 
judgment must incline only in the latter direction (p. 282). To 
our mind, it appears that these are useless attempts to explain 


the parallelism between Christ and Tukarama, which could 
best be explained on the hypothesis of a common mystical 
experience. All mystics of all ages have spoken almost the 
same language, and it is no wonder that in Tukarama we find the 
reminiscences of Christ's life and thought. In this connection, 
we must prize very highly the attempt which Mr. Edwards has 
made in presenting the life and utterances of Tukarama in 
Biblical fashion. Thus, for example, if we were to read the 
account which he gives of Tukarama's ascension to Leaven, 
we would think as if we are reading a Biblical passage. It 
were much to be wished that some day these students of 
Tukarama were to present his Abhangas to the world in Bibli- 
cal terminology. But, if, for this reason, they venture to point 
out that Tukarama ever knew anything of Christianity or was 
influenced by Christian doctrine, it would be, as the Maratha 
proverb goes, like extracting oil from sand. Even to-day, if 
we consider how very little even the most cultured minds of India 
know of Christianity, we might not wonder if a rustic saint- 
like Tukarama, in days of old, when no Christianity had ever 
penetrated the Maharashtra, knew next to nothing about 
Christianity. And, as regards the judgment that Tukarama's 
teaching is to be prized only so far as it complies with